‘US, Russia should stop diplomatic war & start real work’ – Russia’s ambassador to US
Despite the ongoing diplomatic spat between the countries that saw the US-Russia relations sink to one of the lowest points in history, Antonov said he believes the situation is mendable, provided there is enough will to cast aside political differences and work together.
“Frankly, I can’t see any problem to deal with all outstanding issues with the United States. There is a necessity to find diplomatic will to stop diplomatic war, to stop attacks on Russia and to start real work,” he told RT on Tuesday.
Antonov, who spoke after presenting his credentials at the State Department, said he was “very much disappointed” that his arrival to the country on August 31 coincided with the “improper decision” by the US authorities to seize and search Russia’s consulate in San Francisco and the diplomatic annexes in Washington, DC, and New York.
Lamenting the move, which drew strong condemnation from Russia’s Foreign Ministry, Antonov said he called on his American counterparts to concentrate more on what the two countries could do together, most notably the fight against international terrorism.
One of the topics raised during the meeting became the lingering battle against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS, ISIL) in Syria, where the Syrian armed forces aided by the Russian Air Force managed to lift the three-year siege of the city of Deir ez-Zor on Tuesday, Antonov said, calling it “a great victory of Russian armed forces in Syria.”
The long-awaited military breakthrough was secured shortly after Russian cruise missiles hit IS positions near the city, thwarting attempts by the terrorists to fend off the Syrian army offensive. The strike destroyed terrorist fortifications, artillery positions, ammunition depot and underground tunnels.
Another issue of utmost concern for both Russia and the US where the two have room for cooperation is the ratcheting up of tensions on the Korean Peninsula, Antonov added, describing the North Korean problem as “a great challenge” for Moscow as well as for Washington.
“Don’t forget that the United States is too far from North Korea, but North Korea is our neighbor,” the Russian diplomat noted, adding that the efforts should be aimed at ensuring the compliance of North Korea with the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Touching on the situation in Ukraine, Antonov said he once again touted Russia’s idea to send UN peacekeepers to eastern Ukraine, controlled by the rebels of breakaway Donetsk and Luhansk Republics in order to provide security for monitors from Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
The diplomat said he “invited US colleagues to work together on a proper solution” to the crisis. A relevant draft resolution was submitted by Russia to the UN Security Council on Tuesday after the proposal was voiced by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the recent BRICS summit in China.