Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, on a visit to Mali to renew the two countries’ long-standing co-operation, has spoken at length about terrorism in Africa and elsewhere, its origins, and what needs to be done to counter it.
However during journalists’ questions after the speeches, the issue of Ukraine forced its way into the conference hall.
Lavrov said: “About the negotiations on the future status of Southeast Ukraine, according to the protocol signed in Minsk it is expected to take a step in this direction. We hope this negotiation will start soon without preconditions, between the Ukrainian authorities and the leaders of Luhansk and Donetsk.”
During his speech Lavrov made pointed comments about the origins of Islamic State and the support given to Muslim extremists, condemning what he called the West’s “double standards”.
He also expressed concern about what he called Ukraine’s military build-up in the east of the country.