Russian Ambassador to Ottawa, Oleg Stepanov, stated that Russia is open to a dialogue with Canada on the Syrian conflict, during which Syria has managed to defend its statehood and curtail the terrorist threat, though still, the humanitarian situation remains extremely difficult.
“We know Ottawa’s position on Syria. In some aspects, it coincides with the Russian one, first of all in terms of supporting the work of the Constitutional Committee in Geneva, the efforts of the UN secretary general’s special representative for Syria, Geir Pedersen, and adherence to UN Security Council Resolution 2254. We are ready for substantive dialogue with Canada on Syrian issues in case of mutual interest and based on the facts we have ‘on the ground’,” Stepanov concluded.
Stepanov also noted that Russia looks forward to continuing a dialogue with Canada on the Arctic, both bilaterally and under the current Russian chairmanship of the Arctic Council.
“The ‘Arctic Eight’ focuses on dialogue and economic cooperation with respect for the nature of the north. Moreover, in the difficult international environment, such a basis for cooperation remains an important channel of communication and ensuring predictability, despite differences,” Stepanov said.
When asked whether the embassy is raising the matter of anti-Russia sanctions with the Canadian side, the Ambassador replied in the negative.
“Our position on this issue is well known. It is sad that Ottawa has joined the illegitimate restrictive measures against Russia initiated by Washington. This complicates the normalisation and development of Russian-Canadian cooperation. These restrictions are useless. They are not capable of influencing the sovereign policy of Russia. And they are affecting the opportunities of a number of Canadian businesses, which are losing potential benefits and opportunities in the Russian market,” Stepanov noted.
“In our opinion, there is an objective need to expand our consular presence. We will work with the Canadian side on the possibility of opening a mission in Vancouver. This is one of the most important practical tasks,” Stepanov said.