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Russia, US should start with minor steps to restore ties — US expert

A US political expert on Russia names 'few minor steps' that can set a better tone for discussion of the bigger, more complex questions

WASHINGTON, February 20. /TASS/. The United States and Russia should begin cooperating on lesser issues before moving on to the settlement of key issues if both countries want to normalize the currently strained relations, famous US political expert on Russia Thomas Graham told TASS.

"I would imagine people are looking for progress on the big issues, Ukraine and Syria, for example," Graham said in an interview with TASS. "But those are tough ones and early progress is unlikely."

Citing a saying in Russian language "less is more," Graham, who served as an adviser to former US President George Bush Jr., said: "If Moscow wanted to do something to restore normalcy to relations, I would suggest a few minor steps that would set a better tone for discussion of the bigger, more complex questions."

Firstly, Graham said, "Stop the harassment of US diplomats in Russia, begin to receive (US Ambassador to Russia John) Tefft at high government levels and enable him to have meetings with local officials when he travels."

As a second step, the US expert suggested for Russia to "cease the provocative buzzing of American ships and aircraft."

Thirdly, he said, "tone down the anti-American rhetoric on Russian television, including RT."

"Moscow should ask itself how it would like Washington to reciprocate and how long it is prepared to wait for Washington to reciprocate," Graham added.

Thomas Graham, who currently works as an aide to former US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, and holds the post of the Managing Director in Kissinger Associates, Inc., is eyed in Washington as one of the most possible candidates for the post of the US Ambassador to Russia following Tefft’s departure.