The Russian Foreign Ministry will continue using some elements of work in the online format when the novel coronavirus pandemic is over, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with RT.
"I think that after it all calms down - hopefully, it will happen soon - we’ll continue using some of these arrangements, especially when it concerns partners that might face logistical challenges, for example, those from South America. They have to put a lot of work into planning their foreign trips, they have to design an itinerary with three, four, five countries on the list not to spend 15 or 16 hours on every trip," he said.
In the minister’s opinion, online conferences can be an efficient working instrument in some cases. However, sometimes there is simply no substitute for working face-to-face, especially in cases when a meeting is not just a formal exchange of niceties, but an event organized for negotiating and solving problems, TASS reports.
"There are some visits, they are called courtesy visits, when one party states that things are great, then the other party also praises the relationship, and then they agree to meet again. I exaggerate a little, but some visits are easy, they are not intended to resolve a burning issue," he said
However, when difficult issues are on the agenda, it’s hard to settle them online, Lavrov went on.
"You need to see the eyes - not on an LCD screen, but in person. Some things can hardly be entrusted even to a most secure video conference system. It has to be understood," Russia’s top diplomat added.
According to Lavrov, if a pandemic of this kind had happened ten years ago, it would have probably been much more challenging for the Foreign Ministry to function normally.
"But this happened after the Russian Foreign Ministry as well as other federal and regional agencies started actively using modern communication technologies. It wasn’t very hard for us to get our work up and running online, and we haven’t faced any particularly big challenges," he said.