HELSINKI, July 10. /TASS/. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale discussed issues affecting the relations between Moscow and Washington during a meeting on Wednesday.
"[The discussion] has been held in an active and dynamic manner, focusing on the issues that have been significantly affecting our relations for a long time," the diplomat said.
"On the whole, the goal was to see how the dialogue which we do have on various issues, including some major ones, affects the overall situation related to the Russian-American relations, and to see whether we can find additional resources that could help stabilize the situation and begin the process of untangling the current complicated and confusing state of these relations," Ryabkov stressed.
The issue of exchanging US citizen Paul Whelan, currently detained in Russia, has not been raised at the Helsinki meeting between Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale.
"We have not discussed any hypothetical exchanges, namely concerning Paul Whelan, today," Ryabkov told reporters on the outcomes of the talks. "We have established that we are ready to exchange those persons serving sentences in the USA and Russia. However, Mr. Whelan does not form part of this list, as he has not received his sentence yet."
Moscow and Washington have not reached progress regarding the seizure of Russian diplomatic property in the US either, however, the dialogue continues, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov commented on the outcomes of the talks.
"We have no grounds to talk about any prospects or opportunities for progress now. However, these topics are at least included in the dialogue agenda. We will continue working on these issues and we have an idea of which course we should take," he said.
In September 2017, US officials closed the Russian Consulate General in San Francisco, the Russian trade mission in Washington and its branch in New York. The consulate and trade mission are Russia’s state property and have diplomatic immunity. Russia blasted the seizure of diplomatic property as a hostile act and urged the US to return the properties immediately.