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Argument or agreement?

Чем закончилась встреча Лаврова и Тиллерсона в Москве

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What happened?

In Moscow ended a meeting of Sergei Lavrov and Rex Tillerson, held April 12 in the closed mode. As the results of the talks, the parties held a press conference late in the night, also noting that Secretary of state was made personally by Vladimir Putin. According to representatives of the Russian Federation and the United States, the meeting was quite promising: the politicians discussed many important issues and listened to the perspective of each other.

Working group to address urgent issues

A major outcome of the talks was the decision on the allocation of the special representatives of Russia and the U.S. for further discussion of problematic issues in relations between the two countries. The working group will, according to Lavrov, “in detail, without emotion, to look at those irritants that have accumulated in relations in recent years”. U.S. Secretary of state supports this idea, noting that Russia and the United States do not trust each other. “The two nuclear powers can’t be in this state,” said Tillerson.

Fate of Syria

However, the main theme of the meeting remained the Syrian issue, the views of the parties which seriously broke. The biggest conflict arose around the recent missile strike the U.S. air base in Syria. Russia regards this move as a deliberate provocation aimed at the overthrow of current President Bashar al-Assad. USA, in turn, confident in the correctness of the decision, although official evidence of the use of chemical weapons by Syria is not currently provided. CNN, however, utverjdaetthat American intelligence was able to intercept the Syrian military for this reason.

Sergei Lavrov and Rex Tillerson also discussed the future of Syria, which the current President, according to the American side, no place. U.S. Secretary of state said that “Assad’s regime is coming to an end” due to years of war in the country. Tillerson, however, said that the Syrian President “must undergo a structured and organized manner”, and expressed hope for cooperation with Russia in this matter. Lavrov in response said that Russia “does not rely on any person, neither for Assad nor for someone else,” and the question about the future of Syria should be resolved by the Syrians themselves.

Despite numerous disagreements, the sides still managed to identify a common position regarding the Syrian issue. So, Lavrov and Tillerson agreed that the fight against terrorism in the middle East need to fight together. The Russian side agreed to renew the Memorandum on the prevention of incidents in the skies over Syria, though allies will not follow it further violations.

Counteraction of the DPRK

During the talks, the sides also discussed the recently intensified the situation around the DPRK and its nuclear tests. In addition to the frequent discussions about possible US military action against Pyongyang, there is concern about the US decision to send to the Korean Peninsula carrier strike group, which not approved the DPRK. In dialogue with Lavrov Tillerson noted that the maneuvers of the ships was planned in advance, and the international community have no need for “something to turn up, due to their location and location”.

Further adding fuel to the fire of the recent publikacja New York Times on a possible nuclear test of the DPRK. The journalists believe that Pyongyang might time the sixth missile launch to the 105th anniversary since the birth of Kim Il sung. Against this background, particularly important seems the Tillerson comment about the fact that Washington and Moscow agree on the need for nuclear disarmament of the DPRK.

Minsk agreement

During the talks also touched upon the question of the Minsk agreements. According to Sergei Lavrov, Russia “felt interests” of the American side of the bilateral dialogue on the situation in Ukraine. “We have a common position that the Minsk agreement 2015 must be fulfilled”, – said the head of the foreign Ministry. Western sanctions against Russia at the meeting were discussed.

“Russian hackers”

The issue of cybersecurity, a newly-emerged after the charges Russia’s meddling in the elections in the United States, was also raised at the meeting in Moscow. Tillerson once again pointed to the presence of incontrovertible evidence of the invasion of “Russian hackers” in American cyberspace, however, the proof was never provided. Lavrov recalled U.S. Secretary of state about received even in 2015, the proposal to establish a joint fight against cybercrime, and noted that Russia “this interest is not only preserved, but also fully relevant.”

Future prospects

The development of bilateral relations between Russia and the United States is complicated primarily because of the contradictory foreign policy of the American side. Besides the attack on a military base in Syria, here we can recall the decision on adoption of Montenegro to NATO, which Moscow believe “deeply flawed”. The Ministry of foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation in his message said that the event “damages the stability in the Balkans and in Europe as a whole” and does not take into account the views of the people of the country.

However, the results of the meeting of representatives of Russia and the United States are leaving hope that the stabilization of relations between the two countries. Serey Lavrov after it also noted that “many hours that we spent today with Rex Tillerson together with the President of the Russian Federation, were not spent in vain”, and also expressed hope for the continuation of contacts. The administration of the President of the United States, in turn, said the timeliness of the meeting, and he, Donald trump said that Tillerson has done a “tremendous job”.

expert Comments Hit.Media

Andrey Vinogradov, doctor of political Sciences, Professor of the higher school of Economics, believes that Russian-American relations, all is not lost, despite the current deplorable situation:

Vinogradov“We have the official position, which is shared by the Kremlin and the White house: relations between Russia and the U.S. are at the lowest stage in many years. It is a statement that does not doubt and does not contradict positions of the parties. From that moment on, our relationship deteriorated, the experts and the one and on the other hand was hoping that the lower point will be passed. But each time these predictions did not materialize. It was for many reasons both fundamental and situational”

The expert notes that trump, despite the skeptical attitude towards it, has the ability to take a new look at the situation in the U.S. foreign policy and to take measures that will help to strengthen relations with Russia. This is evidenced by the fact of arrival to Moscow Tillerson is the beginning of direct contact, establish the main positions of the parties and finding a solution that satisfies everyone.

“What happens next? Our relationship still has room to fall. However, the closer we get to this bottom, the higher the probability that the trend will change. Yesterday’s meeting could be a point when the relationship will change. Much will depend on Americans, their political situation, because, of course, trump is a serious impact,”

Andrey Vinogradov notes that the United States currently face many different problems ranging from the threat of international terrorism originating in the events of 2001, and ending North Korea’s nuclear program poses a real threat to world leadership. America wants to maintain its position as one of the leading countries, but to do it every year it becomes harder.

“I think that Americans, by the force of inertia of consciousness and other reasons, remains as the main threat perceived by Russia. For some time they forgot about it, but again think about the threat to their leadership from Russia has helped the situation in the middle East, particularly in Syria and the situation in Eastern Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea”

However, the threat from China also seems to Americans very significant. It is no accident that all the recent US presidents, both Obama and trump, almost immediately after his inauguration, met with the Chinese leaders and then – from Russian. This clearly demonstrates the careful attention of America to China, albeit spreading more on the economic sphere. Russia is perceived as a global political rival, whose influence should be limited.

“During the 1970-ies we talked about a geopolitical triangle (USA, USSR, China), in 80-e years this concept went out of circulation, and now again possible to say that the trend of development of global international relations can be described by the concepts of simple geometric shapes. Triangle, if we are talking about East Asia, or quadrangle – if you add the European Union. I think that our relations with the United States can be considered now it is in these two geometric figures”

Dmitry Novikov, Junior researcher, Center for comprehensive European and international studies higher school of Economics, on the contrary, doubts that Russian-American relations can be a bright future. The expert attributes this primarily to provide for trump’s pressure, which is beneficial to Russia in the short term, but strategically, it carries large risks.

Novikov“The situation in Syria can negatively affect relations between the two countries, especially if the administration trump will adhere to the strategy of unilateral actions aimed at overthrowing the Assad regime. From the Russian point of view, articulated by trump during the presidential campaign, the abandonment of the practice of regime change was one of the positive aspects that Moscow welcomed. A return to this policy will meet the resistance of Russia and deterioration of relations. However, the visit Tillerson showed that the administration trump continues to seek ways to conclude a “deal” with Russia, albeit from a position of strength”

However, the probability of success of such a “deal” faster tends to zero. Starting in 2014 Russia and the United States are in a state of systemic confrontation and work exclusively in the military sphere, trying to avoid direct armed conflict. An example of such cooperation can serve the Memorandum on the prevention of incidents in the skies over Syria, which, however, is now suspended. Thus, the confrontation between Moscow and the USA almost reached its peak.

“The fundamental reasons for this confrontation are the fundamentally different approaches of Russia and the United States to how and on what principles should be arranged in the global political order, including a different assessment of the role of new centers of power in it. From the point of view of the United States, nor Russia, nor even China can’t act as equal partners of Washington. The importance of the Crimea in this sense goes far beyond Ukraine and even Europe, Russia has demonstrated the ability and willingness to use military force without the consent of other great powers and permanent members of the UN security Council”

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