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U.S.-Russia relations should not be affected by Snowden situation

August 08, 2013, 8:31 UTC+3

Senator Margelov: Even during Cold War era no obstacles prevented meetings of national leaders

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MOSCOW, August 8 (Itar-Tass) - United States strongly  exaggerates the role of Edward Snowden. His activity should not mar Russian-U.S. relations, Russian Presidential Special Representative for cooperation with African countries, Chairman of the Federation Council Committee for International Affairs Mikhail Margelov told Itar-Tass on Thursday.

“Even during Cold War and detente neither the situation with Sakharov and Bukovsky in the Soviet Union nor the situation with Angela Davis and Leonard Peltier in the United States created obstacles for meetings of our leaders,” at times when “the burden of superpowers and permanent members of the U.N. Security Council required face-to-face talks regarding control of nuclear weapons, regional conflicts, outer space  and other issues.” “Certainly, times are changing, but today the amount of global problems, which require personal meetings between the leaders of the U.S. and Russia is no feweer than during the Cold War era,” Margelov said, in particular mentioning the Middle East situation as well as crises in North Africa, Sahel, arms race and the global economic recession among such problems.

Chairman of the Federation Council committee expressed hope that the so-called 2+2 meeting in Washington scheduled this week top military and diplomatic officials of the two countries will succeed in minimizing  amage to Russia-U.S. relations stemming from Barack Obama’s refusal to meet with Vladimir Putin in Moscow ahead of the upcoming G20 summit. “Value of such meetings is not only in their outcome, but also in they're being held: it's a signal to the world community that two leading powers are engaged in a continuous dialogue,” the lawmaker explained.

Margelov also believes that “in the current deteriorated situation we need to fall back on other channels of interaction between ‘political classes’ of the U.S. and Russia, including parliamentary level.” “Using this  opportunity I urge my partners from the U.S. Senate to resume meetings of the existing workgroup of U.S. Senate and Federation Council, which has been active for ten years and proved to be efficient in the recent past,” he said. The senator urged Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Robert Menendez “to return to the active and sincere dialogue format between specific committees of our houses, such as it was during the chairmanship of Joe Biden and John Kerry.”

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