MOSCOW, Oct 13 (AA): Russia-US relations may worsen further, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov warned Tuesday after meeting with US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland in Moscow.
The talks did not lead to any progress and there is the potential for further escalation if significant efforts to normalize ties are not made, Ryabkov told reporters.
The diplomat said problems regarding the granting of visas to officials along with difficulties in the work of the diplomatic missions of the two countries were among the topics at the meeting.
He warned that Moscow would like to avoid this scenario but does not rule out freezing the work of the diplomatic missions.
“We would like to avoid this. But we cannot rule out such a scenario, such an option in the worst-case scenario. But, I emphasize, we would like to avoid this,” he said.
Ryabkov said he agreed with Nuland to hold additional consultations on the problems concerning diplomatic missions and the granting of visas to officials.
The talks were “ultimately straightforward and useful,” he added.
In a statement on its official website, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Ryabkov and Nuland discussed “the state and prospects of the development of relations between the two countries.”
“Special attention is paid to issues related to the functioning of the foreign missions of Russia and the United States on each other’s territory. The Russian side stressed that hostile anti-Russian actions will not remain unanswered, but Moscow does not seek further escalation. We propose to remove all restrictions imposed by both sides over the past few years,” it said.
Ryabkov brought to Nuland’s attention that “the continuation of Washington’s confrontational line in relation to the bilateral agenda and in the context of acute international and regional problems can only lead to further degradation of Russian-American relations.”
“The relations have to be built on the basis of the principles of equality and mutual consideration of each other’s interests,” it said.
Nuland arrived in Moscow on Monday. Her visit will last until Oct. 13 and will cover a series of meetings with Russian government officials.
In addition to meeting with Ryabkov, she will hold talks with Yury Ushakov, the presidential assistant for international affairs, and Dmitry Kozak, the deputy head of the presidential administration.
- Russian prime minister promises American businesses to support trade ties between two countries
The meeting of the top-ranking Russian and US diplomats coincided with a meeting of the American Business Council with top Russian officials.
Addressing the gathering via video conference, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said Russia considers it important to create favorable conditions for the development of economic and investment interaction with the US.
He stressed that confrontation leads “nowhere” and only constrains business initiatives and affects the interests of entrepreneurs.
“We support the active presence of leading companies from the USA in the Russian market. We note their great practical contribution to the activities of the Advisory Council on Foreign Investment under my chairmanship. Its next meeting will be held next week in Moscow,” Mishustin said.
He also called for cooperation in areas of mutual interest, including climate change, especially in the Arctic region, and the global coronavirus pandemic as well as to seek new business opportunities and promising projects.