US Vice President Joseph Biden reportedly told Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that despite the recent chill in Russia-US relations, Washington wants to put the reset between the two countries back on track.
Kommersant daily, quoting a source in Russia’s delegation at the Munich Security Conference, said Biden believes the normalization of relations between Moscow and Washington may begin with joint cooperation in resisting the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
The Russian daily mentioned the possibility of applying Russian-US experience in the disposal of WMD in third countries as a prerequisite for making such a plan feasible.
The US Vice President, the originator of the term ‘reset’ that now seems so elusive between Russian and American diplomats, also emphasized the importance of the two countries working together “in the interest of international peace and security, including in Syria," a White House statement said.
The American VP, speaking with Lavrov on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, said that while Washington and Moscow will continue to encounter serious differences, US and Russian leadership “is necessary to achieve practical solutions to the challenges facing the world today.”
Efforts to promote a ‘reset’ in relations between the US and Russia suffered a major setback following a series of diplomatic reprisals between the two nuclear superpowers, which are trying hard to shed their Cold War-era suspicions.
In December, US President Barack Obama signed the so-called Magnitsky Act, which is designed to “punish” Russian nationals whom the United States believes are complicit in the death of Sergey Magnitsky, the former accountant with Hermitage Capital who died while in detention in the course of a tax fraud investigation.
Moscow condemned the move as a case of outside interference in its internal affairs.
Later, President Putin signed into force the ‘Dima Yakovlev Law,’ which introduced a ban against Americans adopting Russian orphans.
The Russian parliament sent the bill – named after the Russian boy who died of heat stroke after his American adoptive father left him inside of a car – to the President’s desk following a series of tragic incidences involving Russian children adopted into US families.
More recently, Moscow and Washington have ended their partnership in several joint organizations, including in the Russian-American Bilateral Presidential Commission on Civil Society, as well as in the realm of law and drug enforcement.
Lavrov said he had told Biden that some of Washington’s recent political moves "have triggered a sharp reaction in society."
I hope that there will be no more such situations, he added.
Meanwhile, the recently appointed US Secretary of State, John Kerry, is expected to visit Russia soon, Lavrov told reporters while flying back to Moscow from Munich.
The Russian minister summed up the situation, suggesting that whatever problems there may be between Moscow and Washington, they are practically destined to be partners.
“On an overwhelming majority of international problems, it's very difficult to get anything done without Russia and the United States,” he emphasized.
"The general conclusion (of the bilateral meeting) is that there will always be problems in relations between the two major countries, and they should be solved on the basis of equality and respect for each other's interests, while trying to avoid creating problems artificially,” Lavrov concluded.