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US says no plans to change its policy towards Russia — diplomat

August 26, 2015, 12:47 UTC+3 WASHINGTON
Victoria Nuland cited the Iran agreement as an example fruitful cooperation of Russia and the United States
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©  AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin

WASHINGTON, August 26. /TASS/. The top US diplomat for Europe said on Tuesday the United States would continue to pursue its current policy envisaging selective cooperation with Russia.

In an interview with TASS, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland said: "Where we can we work, where our interests are aligned, where we are working within the international system, we do OK."

Nuland cited as an example "the Iran agreement, where our interests were very much in alignment".

"We are not prepared to change the fundamental principles and rules of the international system and the UN Charter whenever they don't suit Russia's interests. But by that same token we'll continue, where we can, work together, when we can," she said.

Nuland noted that US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Sochi in May "to try to ensure that we were talking directly to the key decision makers in Russia". The diplomat recalled that US President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin had not seen each other for quite a long time.

The US government hoped that "by speaking directly we could make progress on issues where we are already working together", Nuland said. The US also wanted "to see whether there were other issues where we could bring our positions more closely into alignment, like on Syria, which they talked about in Sochi, and we could be frank and clear about areas where we disagree, which was the conversation about Ukraine, and see whether airing these differences would help and in that case would help with the implementation of the Minsk agreement which we continue to believe is the best path to peace in Ukraine," she said.

"So, the goal was to have a direct, frank, open conversation and see what was possible," Nuland added.

Kerry’s visit to the Black Sea resort on May 12 was the highest-level trip by a US official to Russia since the Ukraine crisis began in early 2014. Relations between the two countries deteriorated sharply since then.

The top US diplomat held more than four hours of talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov at a hotel in Sochi before seeing Russian President Vladimir Putin at his summer residence in the city.

Read the full interview of Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Ambassador Victoria Nuland with TASS

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