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Russia-US relations won't get better soon, not with 2020 in the offing – Lavrov

Russia-US relations won't get better soon, not with 2020 in the offing – Lavrov
Russia will not give up on attempts to fix relations with the US, but there is little chance of it happening anytime soon with Moscow being dragged into internal American political strife, the Russian Foreign Minister has said.

In an interview with the Russian ‘Argumenty i Fakty’ weekly, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said he isn't holding out much hope that US-Russian relations can get back on track before the next US presidential elections. Too many American politicians are exploiting anti-Russian sentiment to whip up their voters, he believes.

“Many US politicians are trying to outdo each other in fueling Russophobia, using this factor in their internal political struggle. We understand that it will only get more heated as the 2020 election inches closer,” Lavrov said, adding that Russia will nonetheless keep seeking common ground with the US – but Washington has to reciprocate if things are to get better.

“Cooperation between us is the key moment in ensuring stability and predictability in international affairs – but not everything depends on us: it takes two to tango.”

Lavrov has refused to speculate as to when relations might improve, referring to the “inconsistent and often unpredictable” policies coming from Washington. He reiterated, however, that Russia is ready “to patiently work to fix them,” provided the US respects core Russian interests.

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Not aiding the reconciliation cause is the ongoing “hunt” for Russian citizens abroad. Lavrov said Moscow is not afraid to retaliate when Russian nationals get arrested in third countries and extradited to the US – but will do so in accordance with international law, unlike its rival's “gangster-like” habits.

'US will be responsible for catastrophic Iran war'

Lavrov believes the flare-up of tensions in the Middle East is the “direct consequence of Washington’s and some of its allies' anti-Iranian line.”

“The US is flexing its muscles, it has launched a campaign to discredit Iran, has accused the Islamic Republic of all the sins,” Lavrov said, adding that it would now “take only one match” to set the whole region on fire, with potentially devastating consequences.

“The responsibility for the potentially catastrophic consequences would be on the US,” he said.

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