Moscow has ‘no naive expectations’ about resetting ties with US – Lavrov
Russia does not have any “illusions” or “naive expectations” regarding a reset in the relationship with Washington under the new US administration, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.
The minister provided his views on bilateral ties while talking to Russian lawmakers on Wednesday.
"We have no illusions that there will be a new ‘reset’ with the United States, we have no naive expectations," Lavrov said.
New US President Donald Trump recently said that he would consider certain deals with Russia, including on the limitation of nuclear weapons, in exchange for lifting parts of the sanctions on Moscow.
“They have sanctions on Russia — let’s see if we can make some good deals with Russia. For one thing, I think nuclear weapons should be way down and reduced very substantially, that’s part of it,” Trump was quoted as saying by the Times.
Trump also previously tweeted that only “stupid” people would think that good relations with Russia in general would be a bad thing.
Addressing Russian MPs on Wednesday, Lavrov said that while Trump is known for his negotiating abilities, he is not the only one who can master this.
Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. Only "stupid" people, or fools, would think that it is bad! We.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 7, 2017
"We know that Trump is considered a master in making deals but Vladimir Putin can negotiate, too – and always in the interest of Russia,” the foreign minister noted.
Trump’s thoughts on improving ties with Moscow met solid resistance from some US lawmakers last week. On Sunday, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer (New York) said that a bipartisan group of senators is preparing a bill to significantly restrict the president’s ability to lift the sanctions that Washington imposed on Russia in 2014 over the Ukraine crisis.
The bill in question would require that any changes to the restrictions be put to a vote in the US Congress.
A ‘reset’ of relations between Moscow and Washington was launched back in 2009. In a symbolic move, Lavrov and then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pushed a ‘reset button’ aimed at signaling an attempt to improve ties.
Yet the relationship between the two states has suffered significant blows ever since, including over the ongoing Syrian crisis.
In a recent Facebook post, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev put the blame for the damaged ties firmly on Barack Obama’s administration.
“US-Russia relations completely fell apart by the end of the second term of the Obama administration,” Medvedev wrote, citing US meddling in global affairs and political pressure on Moscow, including through sanctions.
Reducing bilateral cooperation “to zero” proved “a key foreign policy mistake” by Obama, Medvedev said. He stressed though that Moscow is nevertheless open to improving ties under President Trump and is ready to do its “share of the work” to achieve that.