The day of Russia and USA and Bonn Baku: first face to face meeting at the diplomatic and military lines
MOSCOW, February 16. /TASS/. Central foreign policy event Thursday,16 February, became the first full-contact high-ranking representatives of Moscow and the new us administration of Donald trump: in Bonn on the sidelines of the Ministerial meeting of the summit held talks, the Russian foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of state Rex Tillerson, and in Baku met with the head of the Russian General staff Valery Gerasimov and head of the Committee of chiefs of staffs of armed forces of the United States Joseph Dunford. Not only Russian and American, but also, without exaggeration, the entire world press has followed these meetings with increased attention, because it they had to go talking about how Moscow and Washington will be to build relationships, is extremely complicated during the period of stay in the White house administration of Barack Obama .
As told TASS chief editor of the magazine “Russia in global politics”, scientific Director of the Foundation for the development and support of the club “Valdai” Fyodor Lukyanov, the head of the Russian diplomatic Agency during the meeting with U.S. Secretary of state, it is essential to hear what are the priorities of the American administration and what it is going to do in the Russian direction.
“I think that this is the maximum that will occur at this meeting, – said the analyst. – It’s not even checking the clock and figuring out whether the partner a clock.”
Lukyanov also found it important to monitor the tone of statements after the meeting. “The question is, will it be purely legal – we talked and agreed to continue contacts, or will it be something more meaningful with the outline of topics that will be discussed later,” – said the Agency interlocutor.
The meeting of Lavrov and Tillerson
Beginning of the meeting, which took place at the Russian conference room, was slightly crumpled. “We have a lot of questions for discussion. Mostly the topics touched on by our presidents during their telephone conversation. I expect that each of these topics, we will be able to define the parameters of our further work”, – said the head of the Russian foreign Ministry welcomed on the rights of the master Secretary of state.
But Tillerson the organizers of the meeting from the American side to finish the opening remarks in the presence of journalists was not given. “Thank you, Mr. Lavrov, I am also pleased to see you,” he managed to say the head of the American foreign Minister, after which the organizers interrupted him and asked journalists to leave the premises.
However, the reporters who covered the start of negotiations, subject to the requirement immediately. The Agency AP journalist Matthew Lee had to ask the Russian Minister, is concerned about whether Russia “turbulence” in Washington and whether it affects Russian-American relations. “You have to understand that we are not interfering in the internal Affairs of other States”, – said Lavrov, after which the sides continued behind closed doors to figure out, “do they have a watch.”
First Lavrov and Tillerson met, the negotiations in Bonn was their first acquaintance. As announced before the meeting, the official representative of Russian foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova, speech at negotiations will go on the withdrawal of bilateral relations from the impasse that brought them previous US administration. In the agenda of the bilateral relations between Moscow and Washington is a large number of issues which require urgent consideration and study in the medium term, she added.
“It is planned to discuss major international crises in which our countries have worked together and have to interact, – said Zakharov. – Of course, will be considered and regional issues”.
In turn, high-ranking U.S. state Department spokesman Tillerson before the meeting with Lavrov has called the upcoming conversation as “extremely important.” “We expect that we will do what we did during these conversations in the past: to seek pragmatic and constructive cooperation in areas where our interests coincide. And such an obvious region was called many times”, – the diplomat said, mentioning, in particular, combating terrorism, including with the group “Islamic state” (IG, is prohibited in Russia).
The path to understanding will not be quick
Following the meeting, which lasted more than an hour, U.S. Secretary of state was not too talkative. In a short statement to reporters he said that the U.S. administration headed by President Donald trump is committed to “a new understanding” and practical cooperation with Russia in specific areas. “I clearly signaled to the hearings in the Senate (Congress), devoted to the consideration of my candidacy, the United States will explore the possibility of working with Russia wherever we can find areas of practical cooperation that benefit the American people,” said Tillerson. However, he warned that in areas where between Moscow and Washington remain divided, “the United States will defend the interests and values of America and its allies.”
Lavrov said the meeting with Tillerson productive
Tillerson also said that the current us government is committed to a new understanding with Russia. At the same time Washington wants from Moscow facilitate the implementation of the Minsk agreements aimed at resolving the conflict in Ukraine, confirmed the head of foreign policy Department of the USA. “Seeking new understanding, we expect that Russia will adhere to its obligations under the Minsk agreements and work to de-escalate the violence in Ukraine,” – said Tillerson.
According to Secretary of state, he and Lavrov held a “productive meeting”. “We discussed a range of issues of mutual concern,” added Tillerson. He did not elaborate on what the issues were discussed, and refused to answer journalists ‘ questions.
Longer said the Russian foreign Minister, who said that the sides “discussed the situation in bilateral relations, which were seriously eroded by the administration (presidents Barack) Obama, especially in her last months.” “Confirmed from Rex Tillerson willingness, as expressed by the President of the trump in conversation with President (Vladimir) Putin, to overcome this period, to eliminate all superficial, all artificial. With the understanding that the relationship will always be issues requiring coordination, decision”, – said Lavrov.
However, he noted that “all differences, of course, at one sitting will not overcome it.” The head of Russian diplomacy also said that the meeting had not raised the issue of sanctions. “No, the question of sanctions was not discussed. We don’t discuss sanctions,” – said Lavrov.
“We believe that this is an anomaly, and those sanctions used must evaluate for yourself how effective it is, how it is normal communication between States as artificial effort to politicize a particular topic interest of States that they use”, – the Minister added.
Syria and Ukraine
According to Lavrov, in addition to bilateral relations they also discussed the fight against terrorism, settlement of conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan and Ukraine.
U.S. Secretary of state, said the Russian Minister expressed readiness to support the inter-Syrian process in Astana. Lavrov recalled that the us Ambassador to Kazakhstan attended the meeting on Syria in Astana in the capacity of observer. “We naplavlena invitation to the United States in Washington – said Lavrov. – Washington decided that in the period of administration, period of establishment units in the state Department who are engaged in inter-Syrian settlement, they preferred to send its Ambassador in Kazakhstan who participated in these meetings.”
“We have confirmed the presence of common, shared interests, particularly in regard to the uncompromising struggle against terrorism, in this context and in the context of a political settlement in regard to cooperation on the Syrian crisis, other countries in the region where terrorism has taken root,” – said the Minister of foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.
“We discussed the situation in Afghanistan, the situation in Ukraine, – said Lavrov. – In all these areas our American partners are interested to join efforts that are being made to overcome these conflicts. As soon as the team at the state Department and other agencies dealing with these issues, will be formed, we expressed our readiness to establish the appropriate contacts.”
“We have a common understanding that, where interests coincide, and such areas are many, we must move forward to show the ability of the USA and Russia to play the role that they play in the world arena”, – said Lavrov.
“We agreed to continue our contacts, we have a number of opportunities over the coming months,” the Minister added.
To continue the military contacts
While heads of diplomatic departments of the two countries spoke in Bonn, Baku hosted the meeting of chief of General staff of armed forces Valery Gerasimov and head of the Committee of chiefs of staffs of armed forces of the United States Joseph Dunford.
“General of the army Valery Gerasimov and General Joseph Dunford exchanged views on the current state of Russian – American relations, the assessment of the situation in the sphere of international security in Europe, the middle East, North Africa and other key regions of the world. Identified areas of collaboration for improving the safety of military activities, to reduce tensions and the risk of incidents. Agreed to continue contacts” – said after the meeting in the defense Ministry.
In a similar terse language summed up the results of Baku meeting at the Pentagon: Dunford Gerasimov and “exchanged views on the state of relations between American and Russian military, as well as about the situation in the sphere of international security in Europe, the middle East and other key regions.”
Pentagon spokesman reminded that Washington and Moscow had previously made efforts to strengthen security in the conduct of military operations “to reduce the likelihood of crisis and avoid the risk of unintended incidents”. Dunford and Gerasimov “agreed to further strengthen contacts relating to these stabilization measures,” concluded the American military.
The previous meeting between Gerasimov and the head of chiefs of staff took place in January 2014, when this post was held by Martin Dempsey.
Meeting in Baku occurred on the background of the indirect dialogue of heads of military departments of Russia and the United States. The Russian defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Thursday that he expects a clarification of the position of the Pentagon in connection with the words of the new Minister of defense James Mattis that Washington intends to talk with Moscow “from a position of strength,” as it was during the cold war.
“We are ready to restore cooperation with the Pentagon. But attempts to build a dialogue from a position of strength against Russia is futile,” – said Shoigu.
The Pentagon chief, who was in Brussels, where participated in the meeting of defense Ministers of the NATO countries, have chosen not to respond to the Russian colleagues.
“I see no reason to respond to the Russian statements. I can only say that NATO is an Alliance, ready to defend our principles and our way of life,” said Mattis.
He added that the United States is not ready for military cooperation with Russia, but only to the political: “what are we going to do now is to politically engage. The US is currently not in the position to cooperate with Russia on a military level.”
According to the Pentagon chief, first leaders of the US and Russia have to define a field of interaction for dialogue. “Our political leaders will interact and try to find a common position, the way forward, in which Russia in fulfilling its commitments, will return to cooperation with NATO,” said Mattis.
In anticipation of the meeting of the leaders
In fact, the Pentagon chief reiterated what he said previously, many politicians and political scientists on both sides of the ocean: it was a personal meeting between the presidents of Russia and the United States will allow you to determine how and in what direction will move the development of relations between the two countries, how and in which areas can develop their interaction. The only problem is that there is no clarity about when such a meeting could take place, yet.
As said after meeting with his us counterpart the Minister of foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, the meeting of Vladimir Putin and Donald trump will be held when the two leaders deem it possible. “We proceed from the fact that when the President deems it possible, will meet President Putin and President trump”, – said Lavrov.
“Agreements and understanding of the clear yet,” – said the Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov, answering the question on possible terms of the meeting of the Russian and American leaders.