Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has announced an end to ‘reset’ in Russian-American relations, while also acknowledging its positive impact and adding that Russia wanted constructive interaction with the U.S.
Mr. Lavrov said the ‘reset’ in relations between Russia and the United States, launched four years ago, cannot continue forever, otherwise it is just a “system error”.
“If you use this computer term, everyone should realise that an ongoing ‘reset’ means failure of the system, the system does not responds,” the Russian Foreign Minister said addressing an annual press conference on Wednesday.
The ‘reset’ has improved the “atmosphere” between the two countries, he said, noting such achievements as a new nuclear arms control treaty; a 1-2-3 agreement on civil nuclear cooperation; and simplified visa rules.
However, Russian-American relations today “are not in their best shape” today, Mr. Lavrov conceded. The two countries are still at odds over the U.S. missile defence plans, which remain the main stumbling block in their relations.
While paying lip service to dialogue, the Americans keep building up a global missile shield “without paying any consideration” for Russian objections, he said.
Russia is also at odds with the U.S. over the conflict in Syria and Iran’s nuclear programme. The West is “encouraging” the Syrian opposition to continue the fighting and “providing them with everything that is needed for the fight”.
In addition, new “irritants” have emerged, such as the “odious” U.S. Magnitsky Act adopted in December, which blacklists Russian officials accused of human rights violations.
Russia hit back imposing similar sanctions on American rights abusers and banning adoptions of Russian orphans by Americans.
“We will retaliate for unfriendly acts” in future as well, asserted Mr. Lavrov, who has won a reputation for firmly standing up to Russia’s national interests during his eight years at the helm of the Foreign Ministry.
At the same time, Mr. Lavrov offered an olive branch to the U.S. welcoming Mr Obama’s declaration in the January 21 inauguration speech that “a decade of war is now ending”, but adding a caveat: “if these words signal a real end to the use of force in resolving international disputes”.
“We are interested in constructive dialogue and the development of stable, mutually beneficial cooperation”, with the U.S., the Russian Foreign Minister said.