Putin-Trump meeting must bring specific results, not just symbolic handshake – Lavrov
The meeting between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump must be well prepared in order for the first eye-to-eye talks of the Russian and US presidents to bring concrete results, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.
“As far as I understand, both Washington and Moscow need this meeting not for the sake of impressing somebody and saying: ‘Here’s a sensation. It was prepared for such a long time and now it happened,” Lavrov said in an interview with Mir-24 TV.
According to the Russian FM, the meeting between Putin and Trump is needed for something more than a handshake and an exchange of opinions on bilateral relations and international issues. This stance is shared by both Moscow and Washington, he added.
“Russia and the US have such strong impact on international stability and security that such a meeting will undoubtedly be expected to deliver specific results. In order for that to be achieved, it needs to be prepared thoroughly. We are working on that right now,” he said.
The Russian foreign minister stressed that Moscow isn’t paying much attention to contradictory statements on bilateral relations coming from various American officials, which may be explained by members of the new administration “not yet fully adjusting to each other.”
“We usually focus on the main character in the drama – US President Donald Trump, who highly appreciated [US Secretary of State Rex] Tillerson's visit to Moscow as well as his own telephone conversation with President Putin, in which he expressed his intention to continue developing efforts to promote common interests in our relations,” Lavrov said.
Putin and Trump talked on the phone Tuesday, discussing the prospects of coordinated anti-terrorism activities in Syria and the situation around North Korea, among other issues.
The two leaders also spoke in favor of holding their much anticipated first meeting somewhere around the G20 summit, which is scheduled to take place in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7 and 8.
Tillerson visited Russia on April 12 and held talks with both Lavrov and Putin, with Trump saying the secretary of state had done “tremendous work” in Moscow.
In late April, Putin noted that Trump had so far failed to make good on his campaign promises to mend relations with Russia, adding that the level of trust between Moscow and Washington has even “degraded” since Obama left office.
The White House, for its part, recently called “the isolation of Russia in the UN” one of Trump’s main achievements during his first 100 days in office.
In his interview with Mir-24, Lavrov also touched on the issue of the EU sanctions imposed on Russia after it reunited with Crimea and the breakout of the Ukrainian conflict back in 2014.
He stressed that Russia is not in the habit of interfering in the affairs of other nations, and because of that it is not pushing for the removal of restrictions, which put politics above the economic needs of the people and whole countries in Europe.
“But the tendency toward giving up on this anomaly (sanctions) is, in my opinion, becoming stronger” within the EU, the top Russian diplomat said.
Lavrov again stressed that Russia is eager to resume dialogue with the US-led NATO military bloc, but it should be done on the basis of equality.
The development strategy of Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which unites Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, “doesn’t mention that any country or state or organization is our adversary. In contrast, NATO members regard Russia as an enemy or even a threat and attempt to downplay the status and the importance of CSTO activities," he explained.
The FM said that NATO’s “project of full absorption of Ukraine into its sphere of interest and including Ukraine into the North Atlantic Alliance, the inclusion of Crimea into their plans of encircling Russia – those plans have failed.”
He expressed regret that “because of an offense over an objective historic fact, they froze everything that united us, including the anti-terrorism battle.”