MOSCOW, February 19. /TASS/. Russia hopes that the United States will respond to an idea of adopting a joint statement at the highest level on inadmissibility of a nuclear war, Russia’s Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov said at an online conference of the Council on Foreign Relations, a US non-profit think tank.
"One of the most pressing issues remains ensuring predictability and transparency taking into account the demise of the INF Treaty," he said in the speech published by the Russian embassy on Facebook on Friday.
"We also expect that Washington will respond to the initiative of adopting a joint statement at the highest level on the inadmissibility of a nuclear war (relevant Russian draft was handed over to the US Side on October 22, 2018). In our view, it would be reasonable to also include into this document not only the idea of the inadmissibility of a nuclear war as such but of any armed conflict between nuclear powers," he said.
Antonov emphasized that the potential for Russian-US cooperation is not limited to disarmament issues. He indicated that the joint efforts aimed at addressing the coronavirus pandemic, terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and climate change were in the interests of both countries.
"Let me stress that we have proposed numerous times to the US Side to cooperate on a number of specific projects. They relate to the exchange of letters with commitments of non-interference in each other's internal affairs, collaboration to ensure cyber security, modernization of agreements on the prevention of incidents at sea and in the airspace," the diplomat said, recalling that the Russian proposals still remained on the negotiating table.
"We are confident that their implementation will help to rebuild the mutual trust and improve the state of Russian-American relations," he noted.
It would be difficult to get over the consequences of the anti-Russian decision taken by the US authorities in the recent years even in a favorable environment, Ambassador Antonov said.
"In recent years, the American authorities have adopted so many anti-Russian decisions impeding cooperation that it will be extremely difficult to overcome them even in a favorable environment," he said during an online meeting with the Council on Foreign Relations, an non-government organization.
"When our American colleagues see that we have our own opinion and are ready to stand for it, their first inherent instinct is to exert pressure," he noted. "As you can see, the pressure does not work but drives the relationship further into a deadlock."
"Russian-American relations are going through one of the most difficult periods ever," he said.
"I am often asked who is to blame. Probably, this question should force to answer that both sides are to blame. But I can say with full responsibility that we have made every effort to maintain normal cooperation," Antonov added.
The Russian ambassador voiced the key condition for productive relations between the two countries.
"There is only one condition: Washington must treat Russia's interests with respect and not try to subject our policy to the American one," the ambassador stressed.
He noted however that despite the negative things in bilateral relations, Moscow and Washington still an work together on a number of topics. "The Russian and U.S. presidents, in their telephone conversation on January 26, agreed that the existence of serious disagreements should not prevent our countries from a dialogue. On the contrary, it is during crisis periods interstate communication is needed more than ever," the Russian diplomat emphasized. "Our countries contribute to a large extent to maintaining strategic stability and global security, solving urgent regional problems and countering dangerous challenges."
Russian and US Presidents, Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden, had a 35-minute telephone conversation on January 26. The two leaders expressed satisfaction with the exchange of diplomatic notes on the extension of the New START Treaty that had taken place earlier in that day. They also discussed possibilities for cooperation in combating the coronavirus pandemic, in trade-and-economic and other spheres, as well as topics of international agreements and other current problems.
The US new administration should first of all restore full-fledged working contacts with Russia that have been scaled down in the recent years at Washington’s initiative, the Russian ambassador said.
"We consider the restoration of a full-fledged communication on the level of governments and parliaments to be a primary practical task," ," he said during an online meeting with the Council on Foreign Relations, an non-government organization.
However, he admitted, it is too early to make any forecasts. "At the same time, we remain on the ground of reality and have no romantic expectations. Presidents come and go, parties change, but the U.S. fundamental policy of containment of Russia in every possible way stays unchanged," he stressed.
Moscow is "ready for a pragmatic cooperation to the extent that Washington is ready for," he noted. "We understand that in order to prevent the downward trajectory in our relations, it will take a great deal of good faith, engagement and systematic alignment of constantly emerging disbalances. It does not always work out. But apparently there is no other solution for doing business between our countries. "
"To overcome the current challenges, both sides should follow this line in their best own interests. They often happen to coincide rather than diverge, especially when they are understood correctly," he emphasized.
Tensions between Moscow and Washington could be defused once the United States shows readiness to build relations with Russia on an equal basis, Antonov said.
"Many American political experts wish to know what the US can do to defuse the existing tensions. I believe that it is necessary to find a common ground on the core issue - readiness to build relations with Russia on an equal basis, without intentions to remake each other or bring ideological differences into state-to-state relations," he said.
Antonov added that the attempts should be stopped to divide the world into "right and wrong countries, good ‘democratic’ and bad ‘authoritarian’ states."
"The post-war world order, based on the UN Charter, was created by different countries and recognizes equal rights for all, regardless of their political system," he went on to say. "The desire to replace international law with a so called ‘rules based order’, determined by Western capitals, leads to an aggravation of conflicts and loss of control in the management of international system."
The Russian ambassador recalled that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s proposal to convene a summit of five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council had been put forward in response "to the necessity to reaffirm the basic principles of conduct in the international affairs and devise solutions for the most pressing challenges of our time."
In conclusion, the diplomat said that the Russian-US relations had had "highs and lows."
"It is important to remember that the periods of good relations yielded only benefits to the peoples of both countries and international security," he stressed recalling the Elbe Day and Russia’s armed neutrality during the US War of Independence.