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Russia has no illusions on breakthroughs in ties with US after Geneva summit — envoy

"Over the past years, too many mutual claims and contradictions have accumulated, which cannot be resolved in a single jerk. However, there are opportunities for positive dynamics," Russian Ambassador to the United States said
Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov Sergei Savostyanov/TASS
Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov
© Sergei Savostyanov/TASS

WASHINGTON, July 13. /TASS/. Moscow does not believe that the Russian-US summit in Geneva allowed to significantly improve bilateral relations, and a crucial agreement was the decision to launch comprehensive dialogue, Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said in his speech at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. 

Speaking on the outcome of the Geneva summit, Antonov noted: "Contrary to the negative mood fueled by US media outlets in the run-up to the summit, the talks at the highest level were held in a calm, business-like and in general constructive environment. With all remaining contradictions, the two countries’ leaders agreed there is the need to bring closer positions and reduce confrontation in Russian-US relations."

"We don’t cherish illusions on pivotal breakthroughs," Antonov said, according to a statement published on the Facebook page of the Russian Embassy in the US.

"Over the past years, too many mutual claims and contradictions have accumulated, which cannot be resolved in a single jerk. However, there are opportunities for positive dynamics. They are opened by achieving the understanding about the advisability of restoring systemic contacts on key issues of the bilateral and international agenda," he noted.

"The most important agreement at the summit, confirmed in a joint statement on strategic stability, was a decision to launch comprehensive dialogue. Along with extending New START early this year, this is another step of Washington in the direction of common sense and greater responsibility in international affairs," Antonov stressed.

The Russian-US summit was held in Geneva on June 16.

"To make every effort to prevent any armed conflict"

Russia believes it is necessary to do everything to prevent any armed conflict with the US, which would inevitably create a threat of escalation, up to a nuclear one, Antonov said.

Speaking on the Russian-US summit in Geneva, Antonov noted that "the confirmation of a formula developed 35 years ago on the inadmissibility of nuclear war and impossibility of a victory in it" encourages Moscow and Washington to show greater responsibility in international affairs.

"We believe it is necessary to make every effort to prevent any armed conflict between our countries, which could inevitably trigger escalation up to a nuclear level," Antonov said.

Meeting between deputy foreign policy chiefs

Russia expects to hold a meeting at the level of deputy foreign policy chiefs on strategic stability, Russian Ambassador to the United States said.

"We expect in the coming weeks to hold a kick-off meeting between delegations of agencies led by deputy foreign ministers. The point of departure could be a review of the current concerns in strategic field, which both sides have," Antonov said.

Moscow believes that strategic dialogue should be aimed at developing a new "security equation" taking into account all important factors. "This ‘equation’ should cover all offensive and defensive nuclear and non-nuclear weapons, which can solve strategic tasks," the ambassador noted.

"This concerns missile defense, ensuring predictability and restraint in missile field amid the termination of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, thwarting an arms race in outer space, destabilizing military technologies, responding to crises that could trigger nuclear escalation," he stated.

Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Joe Biden of the United States held talks in Geneva on June 16. It was their first face-to-face meeting as heads of state and the first Russia-US summit since 2018. The two leaders said in a joint statement that the parties planned to launch comprehensive dialogue on strategic stability. In addition, Russia and the US also intend to start consultations on cybersecurity, prisoner swaps and arms control.

Cyber security cooperation

Moscow believes cooperation with Washington in ensuring security in cyber space is one of priorities, Antonov said.

"Another priority issue is fostering joint work in the cyber security field," Antonov said. "By the way, according to US sources, most cyber attacks worldwide are carried out from electronic addresses in US soil. In 2020, 45 cyber attacks were registered against Russian facilities, 35 of which were coordinated from America."

"I would like to note that a few days ago our presidents held a phone conversation and discussed in detail the cyber security issue," the ambassador said. "The leaders emphasized the need for substantive and constructive cooperation in this field and continuing respective contacts. In particular, Vladimir Putin noted that Russian-US cooperation should be of permanent, professional and non-politicized nature."

"This is a common problem that needs to be solved," Antonov stated. "We put forward particular proposals on restoring mechanisms of cooperation for effective investigation of incidents in information space. We expect a positive reaction of the administration. The achievement of tangible results in combating cyber threats would allow removing one of major ‘irritants’ in Russian-US relations.".

New resolution on Syria

Russia expects that drawing up a new resolution on Syria in the UN Security Council will facilitate political settlement of the conflict in this Arab state, Russian Ambassador to the United States said.

The diplomat noted that "one more important outcome of the past days" is coordinating Russian and US efforts on "ironing out the situation in Syria.

"Thanks to close cooperation between our representatives in New York, a resolution was adopted in the UN Security Council on a challenging issue of cross-border supplies of humanitarian aid to Syrians. We believe that this decision will contribute to achieving political settlement in the Arab republic as soon as possible and to stabilizing the situation in the Middle East in general," Antonov stressed.

Late last week, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution on cross-border humanitarian assistance in Syria that was drafted by Russia, the US, Ireland and Norway. The document implies the extension of operation of the Bab al-Hawa checkpoint on the Syrian-Turkish border for 12 months provided that in six months the UN chief presents a report on the work of the mechanism on cross-border aid.

The final resolution is a compromise solution. Earlier, Ireland and Norway had presented their document, proposing to extend operation of Bab al-Hawa as well as to resume work of another checkpoint on the Syrian-Iraqi border for another year. In its turn, Russia suggested its own option, which envisaged the extension of Bab al-Hawa for six months. However, the UN Security Council did not consider these proposals separately. Instead, it held extra consultations on July 9, and as a result a text acceptable for all was agreed on.