Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has reportedly told Secretary of State Rex Tillerson the current “escalation” of the conflict with North Korea is “unacceptable.”
The Foreign Ministry released the following readout of Lavrov’s phone call with Tillerson, which occurred on Monday:
On October 9, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke by phone with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at the latter’s initiative.
They discussed the situation in Syria, including prospects for cooperation between Russia and the United States to ensure proper functioning of the de-escalation zones and to advance the political settlement process. The Russian side also pointed to the need to wage an uncompromising struggle against the terrorist groups entrenched in Syria, while strictly observing the principle of territorial integrity.
Other pressing international matters were discussed as well. Sergey Lavrov stressed that the escalation of tensions on the Korean Peninsula, caused by US military preparations in the region, is unacceptable, and underscored the importance of resolving disputes exclusively by diplomatic means. The Russian Minister noted that the Donbass reintegration draft law promoted by the Kiev authorities is clearly at odds with the Minsk Agreements and undermines the peaceful settlement process. They also exchanged views on the meeting between Aide to the Russian President Vladislav Surkov and US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker, which took place in Belgrade on October 7, and stressed the importance of continuing contacts using this channel in the interests of developing realistic approaches towards implementing the Package of Measures agreed upon in Minsk.
Reviewing the situation in the bilateral sphere, Sergey Lavrov again drew attention to Russia’s demand to return illegally seized Russian diplomatic property and stressed that Russia reserves the right to pursue legal recourse and take measures in response. Both sides expressed support for continuing the dialogue on the complex issues of Russia-US relations that is being maintained by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov and US Under Secretary of State Thomas Shannon.
The ministers agreed to stay in touch on important issues of the bilateral and international agenda.
There are a number of points of contention between the U.S. and Russia that remain unresolved, but it appears both sides are still trying to work them out diplomatically.