In the first high-level meeting between the two nations since the Ukrainian crisis erupted, Secretary of State John Kerry met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Sochi to discuss divisions between the two nations. Although the talks largely centered on the beleaguered relationship between Russia and the U.S., the crisis in Ukraine, the Iran nuclear agreement, the deteriorating situations in Syria, Yemen and Libya and the threat posed by ISIS were also included in the eight-hour conversations.
Regarding the delicate topic of Ukraine, Kerry admitted: “If and when Minsk is fully implemented, it is clear the US and EU sanctions can begin to be rolled back.”
With this welcome news, Mr. Lavrov stated the talks had gone “wonderfully” but a press release issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry tersely stated: “(the) responsibility for the current crisis in relations with Washington does not lie with us. “Russia is ready for constructive co-operation with the United States both in the bilateral sphere and the international arena; however co-operation is only possible on an honest and equal basis, without attempts to dictate and coerce. “Attempts to pressure Russia through sanctions would only lead to a “dead end.”
It appears as if Kerry and Lavrov have their work cut out for them.
While the world and Russian-American relations will not change with one, solitary meeting, in a reversal of the immediate past, the face-to-face meeting between American and Russian diplomats, a fundamental unit of communication, may yield what shared values demand: An advancement of the passionate concern for improved relations between the two nations and a desire to collaborate on the general atmosphere of menace and lawlessness which plagues the globe, particularly in the Middle East.
Meetings such as this should not be a moment for recrimination, daring or hubris. These meetings should be more than a test for the rhetorical powers of Kerry, Putin and Lavrov. If the men continue to illustrate a deleterious inability to guide and dither, the meetings will ensure worldwide stasis and allow calamity to flourish.
[guardian.co.uk] [bbc.com] [rt.com] [www.mid.ru]