Lavrov to hold bilateral meetings on Nuclear Security Summit sidelines

The Russian delegation at the physical nuclear security summit (NSS) opening in The Hague on Monday is led by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

The Russian delegation at the physical nuclear security summit (NSS) opening in The Hague on Monday is led by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Lavrov will hold a number of bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the summit, including, as expected, with United States Secretary of State John Kerry.

"The Lavrov-Kerry meeting is planned on the sidelines of the Hague summit. It will focus on the internal political crisis in Ukraine," a source in the Russian Foreign Ministry told Interfax earlier.

It is not ruled out that Lavrov will meet with his Polish counterpart Radoslaw Sikorski.

Ukraine is likely to be on the agenda of this meeting too.

Lavrov is expected to attend a meeting of foreign ministers from the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa).

Last week saw the completion of legal procedures incorporating Crimea and Sevastopol into Russia. Concurrently, the U.S. and the European Union announced a second stage of sanctions against Russia and a possibility of their further expansion.

Another meeting to take place on the NSS sidelines will be a G7 summit which will quite obviously also focus on the situation around Ukraine and prospects for interaction with Russia in this context.

Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated, as part of preparations for the Russian delegation's trip to The Hague, that Moscow is concerned that not all States committed to physical nuclear security.

"We are concerned that not all States are in a hurry to assume legal obligations in this sphere. In particular, the joining in international documents. The non-involvement of a number of States possessing significant stocks of nuclear material makes it more difficult to further draft and assume legal instruments and political obligations in this area," the ministry said.

"Russia has consistently honored its international obligations in the area of nuclear security. In particular, Russia joined all the main international-law mechanisms in the area of physical nuclear security: the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and the 2005 Amendment thereto, and the Nuclear Terrorism Convention," the foreign ministry said.

"Russia has no nuclear material or installation whose level of physical protection raises fears. All the nuclear material, its storage sites, appropriate installations and the transportation of nuclear material are accompanied by necessary security measures," the ministry said.

"A program has been in place since 2002 for the return to Russia of fresh and radiation-exposed highly enriched uranium from Russian-designed nuclear research reactors, accompanied by the conversion of active zones of these reactors of highly enriched uranium (HEU) to the low-enriched one or their full discontinuation. Throughout the program's existence 790 kilograms of fresh and 1,269 kilograms of radiation-exposed HEU of fuel have been removed from 14 countries," the Foreign Ministry said.

The NSS is a biannual event, the previous one was held in South Korea.

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