The Munich international security conference, which finished its work on Sunday, was a platform to clear out approaches of Moscow and Washington. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the US Vice President Joseph Biden touched upon the reason of the tension in the Russian-American relations stressing it may be overcome. On Saturday, Lavrov and Biden after the participation in a general event had a bilateral meeting.
It was the first contact between Russia and the US at that high level after the US President Barack Obama took the office for the second time, the Vedomosti writes. Russia and the US will focus on solvable issues, Sergei Lavrov and Joe Biden said in Munich: the issues of the kind are not so many, and democracy in Russia is not among those.
Biden suggested working in the spheres of reducing the nuclear potential, developing trade, and free navigation in the Arctic. The Russian Foreign Ministry also offered the topic of trade, though did not mention the disarmament.
“The disarmament is not on the Russian agenda, though the missile defence is there, and if case of a failure the Russian side may be speaking about additional armament,” the Vedomosti quoted MP Vyacheslav Nikonov as saying in his comment.
The conference has demonstrated a convergence of views on the situation around Iran: Biden said Iran should be offered motivation, which Russia had mentioned, but as for Syria, the expressed positions differed, Chairman of the State Duma’s International Committee Alexei Pushkov told the newspaper.
The contents of the US new approach is not clear yet, the approach has been pragmatic in the past, Maria Lipman of the Carnegie Centre told the daily. “Obama is picking directions – Afghanistan, WTO, and a new START – where certain results have been obtained, while any personal friendship between the leaders is out of question.”
Lavrov reproached the US and the West of their position on deployment of the European missile defence systems, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes. “The missile defence has become an important test on compliance of the realistic deeds with the festive declarations on adherence to the principle of non-dividable security. We all risk losing another real chance to create a single Euro-Atlantic space,” he said commenting on the expressed intentions of the US. The minister suggested a simple and productive way: “To agree on strict guarantees of non-direction of the US global anti-missile systems at any OSCE country and to offer clear military and technical criteria to evaluate the systems respond to the objectives declared: to neutralise missile threats coming from outside the Euro-Atlantic region.”
The United States want to restore the relations with Russia to “normal.” The Kommersant reports this was what the US Vice President Joseph Biden told Sergei Lavrov. Washington suggests beginning the process of bringing the relations to normal with a practical cooperation in the spheres causing no contradictions. One of those is fighting spread of weapons of mass destruction.
The daily writes it seemed after the mutual exchange of claims the negotiations between Joseph Biden and Sergei Lavrov should have been in a raised voice. And it turned quite unexpectedly how reticent was the statement from the Russian Foreign Minister commenting on the meeting’s results. “We have attracted attention of the US Vice President to the fact there were initiatives from their side, to which our public opinion reacted acutely,” Lavrov said. “We hope in future there will not be reason for that.” A source at the Russian delegation explained Lavrov’s optimism: Joseph Biden had told him that the US would want to return relations with Russia back on the track and were thinking how it should be done.
The newspaper writes that after the meeting with Joseph Biden, Sergei Lavrov positively ready to compromise. “Both sides share the understanding that along with disputes we have many common interests,” he said. By improving the cooperation in spheres where Russian and American interests meet, the two countries will be restoring the relations which have signs of a rift.