All news

US ambassador to Russia calls for relations to move forward, despite sanctions

Jon Huntsman hopes that 2018 will be a better year for the US-Russian ties
US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman Mikhail Japaridze/TASS
US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman
© Mikhail Japaridze/TASS

MOSCOW, January 29. /TASS/. US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman is hopeful that 2018 will be a better year for US-Russia relations compared to 2017 and expects dialogue despite the upcoming release of the so-called Kremlin report, as he himself told reporters.

"This is from a legislation from six months ago. It doesn’t represent anything new. Sometimes I read in the news reports that it’s new things, but it comes from six months ago," the ambassador said in this regard.

"What’s important in the US-Russia relationship is how we move forward, not looking back," Huntsman stressed.

"We had a difficult year in 2017, maybe the most difficult year of all," he went on to say. "2018 should be a better year. And it will only be a better year if we can come together, work on challenges together, begin as dialogue in areas, and I look forward to doing that," he added.

Ambassador’s meetings

Last week, the US embassy in Russia tweeted that the ambassador would request meetings with many senior Russian officials, including Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, his deputies and speakers of both parliament houses.

When asked if those meetings had been confirmed, the US ambassador said that "they’re answering always to the embassy, to our staff and then I’m informed of the meetings, but we’ll have more meetings." "We’ll see, we’re meeting with people, I wish we had more meetings. And we’ll continue to ask," Huntsman added.

"I know ambassador Antonov in Washington is trying to get his meetings too, I’ve talked to him about that, and it’s important on both sides to have access to senior people, because unless you’re talking to people, you can’t create a dialogue and you can’t solve issues together," the US ambassador noted.

"We’ve had some good meetings and we’ll have some more meetings. It’s moving very slowly. I’m happy to meet with anyone who would like to meet with me," Huntsman stressed.

Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center

Huntsman talked to reporters on the premises of Moscow’s Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center, which is hosting an exhibition dubbed Sobibor: Defeaters of Death, dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the Sobibor uprising, the only successful uprising that took place in a death camp during World War II.

When asked about his impressions of the museum, the US ambassador said that "it’s a wonderful reminder to all people of the very brave acts of the Soviet army that liberated a lot of people at the end of the Holocaust."

"That’s what I’m here to celebrate, and it’s something that brings Russia and the US together in a very meaningful way," Huntsman said. "I think Russia should be very proud of this museum. It’s dedicated to tolerance, it’s dedicated to understanding. And I hope that we’ll never repeat those horrific days and years that we saw in World War II," the US ambassador added.

Kremlin report

On January 29, the Washington administration is expected to present to the Congress the so-called Kremlin report, which will contain a list of officials, politicians and businessman believed to have links to the Russian authorities. The report may prompt Washington to impose new sanctions on Russian individuals, as well as on energy, defense and financial companies, and special services.

The relevant reports and lists are drawn up in accordance with the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), signed by US President Donald Trump in August 2017. The Act toughens sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea and warns US and foreign companies against making cooperation agreements or contracts with Russian defense companies and intelligence agencies.

Although the report’s release does not mean the automatic introduction of sanctions, experts say that those whose names end up on the list will have difficulties in doing business on international level because foreign partners and banks will consider it to be an additional risk factor.