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Russia, U.S. will not lecture each other at talks - Kremlin aide

RIA Novosti


MOSCOW, January 22 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and the United States will not lecture each other at talks in Washington next week, a senior Kremlin aide said in a newspaper interview published on Friday.

Vladislav Surkov, widely viewed as a chief Kremlin strategist, is the Russian coordinator of the Civil Society working group within the Russian-U.S. joint presidential commission established during President Barack Obama's visit to Moscow last July.

The group will gather in Washington for its first meeting next Wednesday to discuss corruption and crimes against children.

"We will not tell each other what to do and what not to do about the topics on the agenda, we will not give lectures," the first deputy head of the presidential administration said to the Russian daily Izvestia.

Moscow blamed the previous U.S. administration of George W. Bush of trying to make the subject of democracy a tool to pressure Russia. Relations between the countries have improved after President Barack Obama took office last year.

However in December, 71 members of the U.S. Congress, mainly Republicans, demanded the Obama administration boycott the Civil Society working group until the Kremlin replaced Surkov they described as "one of the masterminds behind Russia's authoritative course of the past years."

Surkov told Izvestia that the meeting was only due to discuss corruption, crimes against children and negative stereotypes, but there would be plenty to say as the issues were important to both side.

Surkov said there that "the sides will have what to tell to each other" as the issues to be discussed are important for both states. For example, both Russia and the United States have the biggest numbers of migrants, documented and undocumented.

He also pointed on the importance of the issue of crimes against children.

Asked whether the Russian delegation would raise the issue of deaths of Russian children adopted by U.S. citizens, Surkov said it was not for one side to tell the other how to behave.

He said that Russian delegation would also include Russian rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin, head of the presidential Civil Society Institution and Human Rights Council, Ella Pamfilova, a lawyer and presidential ombudsman on children's rights, Pavel Astakhov and adviser to the Russian presidential administration on Russian domestic policy, Alina Radchenko.

The Russian-U.S. joint presidential commission comprises 13 working groups covering different areas of cooperation between the United States and Russia and its work is coordinated by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

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