NEW YORK, September 28 (RIA Novosti) - In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov discussed a range of current hot topics including efforts against the Islamic State (IS) in the Middle East, the situation in Ukraine, and Russia's future amid Western sanctions.
EFFORTS AGAINST THE ISLAMIC STATE (IS)
"Iran, of course, should be part of the efforts to fight ISIL because Iran is the strong opponent of these people. And to ignore Iran in this fight and not to invite it for cooperation is a mistake, just like it is a mistake not to consult with the Syrian government and not to cooperate with it," Lavrov told the news network concerning US operations against IS violence plaguing Syria and Iraq.
According to the minister, the Syrian crisis cannot be resolved without Iran since the region's conflicts involve Iranian interest. Lavrov added that during discussions on the situation in Syria with US Secretary of State John Kerry, Iran was left out.
"Iran was explicitly left out which is not helpful. I think Americans recognize that at some point, better sooner than later, this would have to be recognized that Iran should be involved as an equal partner in negotiating the security issues in the region," the minister said, noting the move was yet another mistake on the US side referring to US President Barack Obama's refusal to cooperate with Syrian President Bashar Assad.
RUSSIA'S ROLE IN UKRAINE
"We know them and they certainly listen to us, but not always," Lavrov said when asked about Russia's influence on independence supporters in Ukraine.
When independence supporters decided to hold a referendum on independence in May, Russian President Vladimir Putin publicly urged the parties to first engage in a political dialogue with a president who was to be elected later.
The independence supporters did not postpone the meeting as requested by Putin but Lavrov stated, "They respect Russia. They respect Putin. They respect the views and advice. But they already decided that something must be done. And they held that referendum."
According to the minister, independence supporters are willing to cooperate and participate in talks with Kiev authorities to implement the protocol signed on September 5 in Minsk outlining steps to defuse the situation in eastern Ukraine.
WESTERN SANCTIONS IN RUSSIA
When asked whether Russia would change its plans in order to lift sanctions imposed upon it by Western countries, Lavrov stated, "We are not going to change our position. We believe it's an honest position."
The minister continued to say that Russia's stance on the situation in Ukraine is to help Ukrainian people, Russia's "brothers and sisters." Any and all negotiations would not cater to appeasing Western countries.
Lavrov claimed that sanctions will not destroy Russia's struggling economy, but only delay some projects and developments.
"Recession happens, not only in Russia but in other countries as well," Lavrov stated, adding that he was confident Russia would survive the situation by making resourceful substitutions and adjustments for its losses.