Russia has more in common with US than with Europe over Libya – Lavrov

The AMD shield and the Middle East crisis were among the hot issues that were discussed by the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, and US secretary of state Hillary Clinton on Wednesday in the course of Lavrov’s visit to Washington.

In the press conference that followed the meeting, Hillary Clinton said Washington is determined to reach full mutual understanding with Russia regarding the anti-missile defense and to build an efficient political framework, which would let the countries start practical cooperation on the matter. This stance had been confirmed by President Barack Obama in his earlier meeting with Lavrov.

Speaking of Libya, the two officials reiterated their position that Muammar Gaddafi should go. But Lavrov stressed again that Moscow is dissatisfied with the way the UN resolution is being followed.

“In the parenthesis, I would like to say that on this topic we have fewer misunderstandings with the United States than with some European countries,” Lavrov said. “We are united that there is a need to start a political process in Libya as soon as possible.”

Lavrov explained Russia’s stance on Syria by Moscow’s determination to go from words to actions.

“Diplomacy does not exist to condemn. Just condemning people without any solution will not lead us to anything,” Lavrov said, answering the question why Moscow is blocking the UN resolution, which condemns Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Russia hopes for “a responsible rather than opportunistic approach” to the Syrian crisis, he added. 

Lavrov and Clinton said the two countries have also reached several important agreements.

An inter-country adoption agreement will provide the safety and security of Russian children adopted by American parents, increasing the transparency of this process. It was worked out after seven rounds of negotiations, which lasted more than a year.

Moscow and Washington agreed that any adoption of Russian children may only be conducted through a licensed agency. Foster children will retain Russian citizenship until they reach adulthood, while their adoptive parents will have to report on their health and mental condition regularly.

Russian laws will also be taken into account in courts reviewing any conflicts or crimes involving such children.

Russia banned adoptions to American families in 2010 after a number of high-profile cases of mistreatment of children in their new families. Moscow says at lest 17 foster children have been killed by their adoptive parents in the US. The new agreement is meant to disperse concerns for the wellbeing of the children.

A new US-Russia visa agreement is designed to facilitate trade and service, allowing businessmen to travel multiple times between the two countries over 36 months on a single visa. The agreement is expected to be signed till the end of this year, with a few technical issues remaining.

Besides these two agreements, the two countries worked on their radioactive security, renewing protocols on the effects of radiation and bringing into force the agreement signed in 2010 to dispose of 34 metric tons of uranium weapons on each side.

The US strongly supports Russia’s accession into the World Trade Organization. “Russia’s membership would allow us to increase trade and deepen our economic ties,” said Clinton, adding that Russia’s joining the WTO is one of Washington’s priorities.

On more general terms, Washington is concerned with the state of democracy in Russia. Civil societies, journalists, bloggers, lawyers and judges should be given opportunity to function properly, under no pressure and with no violations of free speech or free assembly, Clinton said.

Hillary Clinton also expressed sincere condolences to the victims of Wednesday’s blast in Mumbai and the victims of the Bulgaria cruise ship, which sank in central Russia on Sunday claiming over a hundred of lives.

The high-level meeting between the two officials was held behind closed doors.

Watch Sergey Lavrov and Hillary Clinton's press conference in Washington

Earlier in the day, Sergey Lavrov met US President Barack Obama, again behind the closed doors. Prior to the meeting, Obama’s administration confirmed that the key topic of the negotiations was the US’s projected anti-missile shield in Europe.