Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves says he met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Venezuela on Tuesday, where they discussed the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“As you know, Lavrov was touring Latin America and you have seen the visit reported [on], very important visit. which he had in Brazil and President Lula in Brazil was talking about putting together what you call a club of countries of and for peace to see if we can have the matter, this war in Ukraine…” Gonsalves told the media in Kingstown on Thursday.
He said the Russia-Ukraine war is “going on too long and there is too much suffering there by the combatants, too much money is spent on it by NATO, lives lost, injuries, dislocations and the knock-on effect of what is taking place there and the sanctions which follow, the knock-on economic effect — rising prices, rising interest rates, making life harder for people”.
The prime minister said the ongoing conflict, which began in February 2022 “is a matter of great importance and I have organised that I can go and speak to the foreign minister of the Russian Federation precisely on this very question of peace.”
Gonsalves travelled to Venezuela from Trinidad, where he and other CARICOM leaders met for a two-day symposium on crime in the 15-member bloc.
“We had a discussion early Tuesday morning in Trinidad, a breakfast meeting of CARICOM heads where we were discussing several issues and Ukraine and Haiti came on the agenda and I had indicated that I was having this meeting and they were very pleased.,” Gonsalves said.
He said he would report to CARICOM heads when they meet virtually next Thursday.
“I will report as to the discussion which I had with Mr. Lavrov and I will also report to my colleague heads in CELAC as to that particular discussion. So those meetings were very important with a lot of practical consequences for us,” Gonsalves said.
Meanwhile, in a statement on Wednesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Gonsalves and Lavrov “stressed the inadmissibility of unilateral sanctions…
“The two sides stressed the fundamental rejection of the policy of unilateral sanctions imposed in violation of the principles and norms of international law, reaffirmed the commitment to forming a multipolar world based on genuine equality, and mutual respect for the interests of states.”
Gonsalves and Lavrov discussed the outlook for developing bilateral relations, as well as key issues on the international and regional agenda,” the statement said.
“The mutual interest in increasing bilateral cooperation in various areas was confirmed,” the foreign ministry added.
Lavrov visited the Venezuelan capital on Tuesday, flying there from Brazil, the first leg of his Latin American tour that began on Monday.
During his visit to Caracas, Lavrov met with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, Foreign Minister Ivan Gil and Executive Vice President Delcy Rodriguez.