Last Update 22:7
Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Russia says ready to talk to Trump about nuclear arms, Syria

Reuters , Tuesday 17 Jan 2017
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov gives his annual press conference in Moscow on January 17, 2017 (Photo: AFP)
Views: 1470
Views: 1470

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday that Moscow was ready to talk to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's new administration about nuclear weapons and Syria, saying the two countries could together solve many of the world's problems.

Lavrov, speaking days before Trump's inauguration, used an annual news conference to flag potential areas of cooperation and to belittle what he described as malicious attempts to link Trump to Russia in a negative light.

Trump, who has praised President Vladimir Putin, has signalled he wants to improve strained ties with Russia despite U.S. intelligence agencies alleging the Kremlin chief ordered a cyber campaign to help him beat rival Hillary Clinton to the White House.

Russia denies it tried to sway the U.S. election by hacking or other means. It has also dismissed as a fabrication a dossier written by a former officer in Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, which suggested Moscow had collected compromising information about Trump.

Lavrov dismissed the dossier's author, Christopher Steele, as "a fugitive charlatan from MI6" and said the dossier looked like part of a campaign to cause problems for Trump and his allies. Putin on Tuesday called the same dossier a hoax.

While cautioning that the new U.S. administration would need to settle in before wider conclusions could be drawn, Lavrov signalled he was encouraged by the tenor of the Trump team's statements so far which he said suggested it would be possible to have a pragmatic relationship.

"Trump has a particular set of views which differ a lot from his predecessor," said Lavrov, who accused the Obama administration of wrecking cooperation across a swath of areas and of trying to recruit Russian diplomats as agents.

"By concentrating on a pragmatic search for mutual interests we can solve a lot of problems."

He said Syria was one of the most promising areas for cooperation, saying the Kremlin had welcomed Trump's statement that he wanted to make fighting global terrorism a priority.

"What we hear from Donald Trump (on Syria) and his team speaks to how they have a different approach (to Obama) and won't resort to double standards," said Lavrov.


On Syria, Lavrov said representatives from the new U.S. administration had been invited to take part in peace talks slated for Jan. 23 in Kazakhstan.

He hoped U.S. officials would attend, he said, as that would be the first opportunity for Moscow and Washington to start talking about closer Syria cooperation.

Moscow backs President Bashar al-Assad in the Syria conflict while Washington supports rebels opposing him, but both have a common enemy in Islamic State militants.

Lavrov questioned however whether Trump, in an interview he gave to The Times of London, had really suggested he would be ready to drop U.S. sanctions on Moscow in exchange for nuclear arms cuts saying his own reading of the interview had not suggested any linkage between the two issues.

But he said Moscow wanted to start talks with the United States on nuclear weapons and on the balance of military power between the two former Cold War foes anyway.

"It's one of key themes between Russia and the United States. I am convinced we will be able to restart a dialogue on strategic stability with Washington that was destroyed along with everything else by the Obama administration."

Such talks could cover hypersonic weapons, the U.S. anti-missile shield in Europe, space weapons, and what he said was the U.S. refusal to ratify a ban on nuclear testing. Trump has called for a nuclear weapons build-up.

Some commentators have said Senate hearings for some of Trump's picks show they will be tough on Russia. But Lavrov said he had been encouraged by Rex Tillerson, the incoming Secretary of State, whom he cited as saying Moscow's behaviour was not unpredictable.

"(That) means that we are dealing with people who won't get involved in moralising, but will try to understand their partner's interests," Lavrov said.

Tillerson had extensive dealings with Russia when he was the head of Exxon Mobil oil company.

Short link:


Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.

© 2010 Ahram Online.