MOSCOW, August 10 (Itar-Tass) - U.S. President Barack Obama’s statements indicate that he remains a hostage of the political situation in his country but life will prod Washington into resuming cooperation with Russia, Mp Andrei Klimov said.
In his opinion, Obama’s remarks look strange as it was he who had proposed “reset” in U.S-Russian relations. Russia hoped that the “reset” meant “‘resetting’ Russian-American relations, not Russia” and that it would be based on the equality of partners and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, Klimov, who is deputy chair of the Committee on International Relations in the Federation Council, the upper house of Russian parliament, told ITAR-TASS on Saturday, August 10.
“So far the United States has been acting as if it were the only centre of power in the Universe,” he said, noting that Russia “has not made any statements concerning the political situation in the U.S. and has not instructed President Obama which political systems he should use.”
“We and the United States are discussing international issues and bilateral relations,” he added.
“Life itself will make the U.S. reevaluate relations with Russia. At this point the American president is a hostage of what senators say and what his political opponents think,” Klimov said.
He believes that Russia and the United States “do have interesting areas for cooperation.” “We have a tremendous potential in economic relations that fall short of the level that corresponds to our countries, especially since we are neighbours and Russia and the U.S. are much closer across the Bering Strait than, say, Russia and France are,” Klimov said.
He insists that this is the way relations between the two countries should develop. “Anyway, life will make the U.S. cooperate with Russia on the international agenda that requires reciprocally balanced decisions both in the U.N. Security Council and with regard to individual regions where we cooperate on a bilateral level,” he said.
Obama said at a press conference in the White House on Friday, August 9, that the U.S. would make a pause in relations with Russia to see what could be done to make them better.
The president said anti-American rhetoric had increased in Russia after Vladimir Putin’s reelection and Washington needed to take a break in order to understand where Russia is heading and what serves U.S. interests.
However, State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Alexei Pushkov believes that Obama’s remarks about anti-American rhetoric in Russia are strange. “Russia did not initiate this conflict situation in bilateral relations with the U.S.,” he told ITAR-TASS.
Over the past 18 months “a number of bluntly anti-Russian actions have been taken by the United States of America,” Pushkov said and cited the Magnitsky Act, strong statements on the nature of elections in Russia, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s vow to exert every effort to resist the creation of the Eurasian Economic Union in the post-Soviet region, and so-called “black lists” denying entry to the U.S. to Russian officials.
“Russia does not adopt anti-American laws, left alone the fact that numerous requests regarding [Russian citizens] Viktor Bout and Konstantin Yaroshenko [both sentenced in the U.S. to long prison terms for alleged drug and arms smuggling], and constant appeals by the Foreign Ministry about the fate of Russian children in the United States get no clear answer,” the MP said.
He believes that “all negative signals on these issues come from the U.S. So I think that given the circumstances it is quite strange to speak of stronger anti-American rhetoric.”
Pushkov hopes that “during the pause the U.S. administration is going to make it could take a look and carefully review the causes of the current crisis in bilateral relations.” “If if makes such a review and draws the right conclusions, then this will be a useful pause,” he added.
Valery Garbuzov, Deputy Director of the Institute of U.S. and Canadian Studies, said that the pause in Russian-U.S. relations is necessary for “both the Russian and American leadership in order to understand how to develop bilateral relations further.”
At the same time, he thinks that neither country wants such a pause to last too long.
In the remaining part of his presidential term Obama “is interested if not to rejuvenate the ‘reset’ then at least give a new lease of life to the [bilateral] agenda and enlarge it,” he told Ekho Moskvy radio.
“I hope that [Obama’s] visit to Moscow has been postponed, not cancelled completely,” he said, adding that there are many things, such as the crisis in Syria, that cannot be solved without cooperation between Russia and the United States.