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Veteran German diplomat warns soured US-Russian ties threaten international security

Russian-American relations, which are currently at a historic low, jeopardize international security, a diplomat says
Wolfgang Ischinger REUTERS/Reinhard Krause
Wolfgang Ischinger
© REUTERS/Reinhard Krause

BERLIN, February 2. /TASS/. Russian-American relations, which are currently at a historic low, jeopardize international security, Chairman of the Munich Security Conference Wolfgang Ischinger told TASS in an interview. Nevertheless, he is convinced that Moscow has better chances towards normalizing these ties than Washington.

The Munich Security Conference is the world’s largest annual forum on foreign policy and international security, which brings together heads of states and governments, politicians and military from all over the world. This year it will be held for the 54th time, from February 16 to18.

According to Ischinger, the atmosphere between Washington and Moscow could not get "any worse."

"I assess the current state of affairs as dangerous, deeply regrettable and in dire need of improvement," he said.

"Is there any chance for it? I hope that after the presidential elections, the Russian side will have an opportunity to reach out to Washington." "And I hope that after the midterm elections in the US this coming November, the situation in the country will somewhat calm down," the veteran diplomat added.

Ischinger is convinced that "the current situation is the most dangerous since the collapse of the USSR."

The diplomat explained that it is very hard for the White House to come up with any initiative on the issue because "the US Congress has tied the President’s hands."

"But Moscow can do a lot. If Washington realizes that there is no need to fear any interference in its elections or any hybrid confrontation, then a serious cause for criticism would be removed. Both sides need to contribute a lot to normalizing their relations," Ischinger stressed.

"In fact, I think that the all-time low ties between the two countries can be described as one of the saddest periods in recent years," the head of the Munich Conference admitted.

Ischinger especially pointed out the lack of progress on the issue of arms control.

"We want, for example, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty to be extended, so that we again will be able to start talking about building trust regarding conventional weapons," he stated.