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Iran Press TV

Russia ready for 'wide-ranging' dialogue with US: Putin

Iran Press TV

Sun Dec 30, 2018 03:33PM

Russian President Vladimir Putin has told his American counterpart Donald Trump that the Kremlin is ready for entering into dialogue with the White House on a "wide-ranging agenda" as Moscow-Washington relations are currently at their worst since the end of the Cold War era.

The Russian leader made the invitation in a letter sent to Trump on Sunday on the occasion of Christmas, a month after the US president abruptly canceled a planned meeting with Putin on the sidelines of a G20 summit in Argentina, citing tensions caused following Russia's seizure of three Ukrainian navy ships off the coast of Crimea.

"Vladimir Putin stressed that the (Russia - United States) relations are the most important factor for providing strategic stability and international security," said the Kremlin in a statement on Sunday, adding, "He confirmed that Russia is open for dialogue with the USA on the most wide-ranging agenda."

Moscow's relations with the West, particularly with the United States, remain tense over the Ukrainian crisis, the conflict in Syria, and the allegations of Russian interference in the US presidential election in 2016.

Early this week, Vassily Nebenzia, Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, said the bilateral ties between Russia and the United States were in fact "practically non-existent," describing the status quo as bad not only for both countries but for the whole world.

Elsewhere in his remarks on Monday, Nebenzia said Moscow and Washington needed to talk about global issues, including strategic stability, terrorism, narcotics and regional conflicts. He also said he thought Trump "understands pretty well that it's better to cooperate."

However, the Russian envoy said he did not "see too bright prospects for improving (relations) any time soon" given the fact that Russia had become a major issue in the US internal politics through the allegations of Moscow's interference in the US presidential election in favor of Trump, which the Kremlin strongly denies and calls them "absurd," as well as "the vulnerabilities that drift around this administration."

Russia has already said that one of the key issues it seeks to discuss with the United States is Washington's announced plan to pull out of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) with Moscow, signed in 1986 between then US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev.

Trump said on October 20 that Washington would withdraw from the INF over the claim that Moscow had violated the pact. Russia has rejected that claim.

Separately on Sunday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said now it was up to the US whether to hold a new meeting in 2019.

"The issue should be addressed to Washington. Both our president and his representatives have said that we are ready for the talks when Washington is ready for it," TASS news agency quoted Lavrov as saying in televised remarks.

The Kremlin also said on Sunday that President Putin had sent a Christmas letter to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, pledging continuation of aid to the Syrian government and people in the "fight against terrorism, in defense of state sovereignty and territorial integrity."

The Russian leader also sent New Year greetings to other world leaders, including Prime Ministers Theresa May of Britain and Shinzo Abe of Japan, as well as Chinese President Xi Jinping.

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