Russian Foreign Minister Claims Potential for Cooperation With US Still Untapped


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Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov commented in an interview with Italy’s Libero newspaper about Russian relations with the US and EU, as well as the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) Moscow is not expecting positive steps from Washington as the potential for cooperation in world and bilateral affairs remains unexplored due to wide-spread Russophobia in the United States, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

According to Lavrov, declaring Russia as an “adversary” at the legislative level in the US “is pure stupidity and irresponsibility.”

“At least we, in Russia, do not look at the US through a similar lens. On the contrary, we always regard the American people and their achievements with respect,” the minister stressed.

Russia is open to constructive work with the United States on all issues, but will respond to unfriendly steps in accordance with the principle of reciprocity, Lavrov said.

“We hope that in the foreseeable future, common sense will return to Washington’s corridors of power, Lavrov said, stressing that Moscow would continue to provide a “mirror” response to any unfriendly US steps.

The United States is implementing a policy directed against Russia at the expense of the European countries who suffer losses due to anti-Moscow sanctions, the Russian Foreign Minister added.

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“Today it is obvious that the [anti-Russia] sanctions introduced by the bureaucrats in Brussels by order from Washington have resulted in a backlash targeting the national European producers. They have partially lost their positions at the market of Russia and they continue suffering major losses. The United States has not suffered damage, because our trade turnover with it is very small. It appears that the US establishment wants to achieve its anti-Russia goals at the expense of the Europeans and by the Europeans’ hands,” Lavrov said.

The European Union, the United States and their allies imposed several rounds of sanctions against Russia after the start of the Ukraine crisis and Crimea’s decision to rejoin Russia in 2014, citing Moscow’s alleged meddling in the Ukrainian affairs.

“In practice, unfortunately, many particular actions of Donald Trump’s team demonstrate resistance to change, in fact, they are not different from the course of Barack Obama. Moreover, at the initiative of the anti-Russian lobby in Washington, new unfriendly steps are being taken in various fields, including the expansion of unilateral restrictions, the implementation of global anti-missile plans, the build-up of the US and NATO military presence near our borders, and efforts to discredit Russia’s foreign policy,” Lavrov stated.

According to the minister, the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which targets Moscow has been passed as part of the anti-Russian hysteria.

Also, the minister stressed that it was difficult to predict with certainty the consequences of the current difficult stage in Russia-US bilateral relations as the polarization of opinions in the US had reached an unprecedented level for the last decades, “affecting not only the political and economic sectors, but the entire spectrum of issues in public life.”

Russia EU Cooperation

Speaking about Russia and European Union relations Lavrov said that Moscow will develop cooperation with the EU at a pace that the European partners are ready for.

“We hope that the EU agencies will find the strength to abandon strategizing Russian policy based upon the principle of ‘lowest common denominator’, and will stop blindly following a small but extremely aggressive group of Russophobes within the European Union,” the minister stressed.

Ukrainian settlement

The UN peacekeeping forcess will be deployed in Donbass after a disengagement of troops and military equipment of the conflicting sides, it should be agreed upon with Kiev and the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics (DPR and LPR), Sergei Lavrov said.

He noted that even after the deployment of the UN peacekeeping forces, the Minsk agreements would remain the basis for the Ukrainian settlement.

“At the same time, the Minsk agreements continue to serve as the basis for the settlement, all existing negotiating platforms — the Minsk Contact Group and the Normandy format are preserved,” Lavrov said.

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Source: Sputnik News

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