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Russian diplomat: Moscow will not even discuss criteria for lifting sanctions with US

February 06, 2017, 14:02 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov noted that the idea of lifting the sanctions in return for nuclear arms reduction is "totally unworkable"

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A view of the Russian Foreign Ministry building and a tower of the Moscow Kremlin

A view of the Russian Foreign Ministry building and a tower of the Moscow Kremlin

© Vladimir Smirnov/TASS

MOSCOW, February 6. /TASS/. Moscow will not even discuss the criteria for removing anti-Russian sanctions with Washington, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Sergey Ryabkov, said in an interview with the PIR Center’s Security Index magazine.

"We will not ask them to cancel (sanctions) or even discuss the criteria for lifting them, we have never done this before," he said.

Speaking about the idea of lifting the sanctions in return for nuclear arms reduction, Ryabkov said that it is "totally unworkable." Firstly, we do not discuss the sanctions and will not discuss them," he said. "Secondly, how can we "exchange" the removal of sanctions for disarmament?"

"It turns out that we have to disarm unilaterally. This is a total non-starter," he added.

On US-Russia relations under Trump

Moscow has no unfounded illusions that a "new life" will begin in its relations with the United States with Donald Trump’s rise to power, Ryabkov said.

"Whatever the outcome, it’s important for us to be realistic in assessing the situation in relations and not to try to look at the future dialogue with rose-colored spectacles," the diplomat said. "I assure you that we have no such groundless illusions that with Trump’s rise to power a new life will begin or everything will turn 180 degrees," he added.

The high-ranking diplomat voiced hope that "the changes in the White House will allow reversing the dangerous trend towards the deterioration in the Russian-US ties."

He noted that Russia carefully watched what Trump said and says about the country and "positively assessed his words on the need to establish a normal dialogue." The sides’ intention to rectify the unsatisfactory situation in bilateral affairs was confirmed in phone conversations between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"As for our approach, the Russian president stressed many times that we are open for pragmatic cooperation with Washington in all issues," Ryabkov said.

This cooperation should be based on "the balance of interests and without attempts of blackmail and imposing one’s will on the other," he said. "We need to monitor and analyze practical actions of the new administration."

Trump’s first steps as the US president are "significant, far-reaching and serious and they are being analyzed now," Ryabkov stressed.

Russia understands that Trump needs time to define the foreign policy priorities and approaches to certain issues. "Washington is carrying out a very deep, massive and large-scale reshuffle in the leadership of all key agencies and other bodies of the executive branch," he added.

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