Moscow, May 17 (EFE) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday called for action, not words, to normalize relations with the US ahead of a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Reykjavik.
Lavrov said at a press conference, “The US Secretary of State … said that (in Reykjavik) we should advocate a stable and predictable relationship. But if it means predictable and stable sanctions, then of course we need it.” Is not. “
He insisted, “We will value America’s call for normalization not by words, which have already been too much, but by actions.”
Lavrov, who had a meeting with Blinken in the framework of the Arctic Council meeting, said they would discuss “everything” affecting strategic stability.
“Everything that affects strategic stability, nuclear and conventional weapons, offensive and defensive weapons (…) in one way or another, should be on the negotiating table,” he said.
Lavrov hopes for a “professional dialogue” that will allow Moscow to clarify its position on “the intentions of the United States” and the main international problems affecting Russian interests.
He was keen to seek a “balance of interests” in both bilateral relations and the international arena, on the basis of equality and mutual respect with his American ally.
At the same time, the Russian minister recalled that, as the head of the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin said in his final speech on the state of the nation, it would be Moscow that would decide the format and themes of such cooperation.
“The red lines that we will not be able to cross when analyzing the international agenda will also be determined by Russia. It completely affects the issue of strategic stability,” he explained.
Red lines in the arctic
In this regard, Lavrov insisted that Moscow was concerned about NATO’s “aggression” in the Arctic and in particular the attitude of neighboring Norway, which would “in every way” try to justify the Atlantic Alliance’s presence in the region is. .
“At the ministerial meeting of the Arctic Council in Reykjavik, of course, we are going to talk about it openly,” he said.
He also refuted criticism that Russia was increasing its military presence in the Arctic, when, according to Lavrov, “everyone knows this is our territory, our land.”
“We are responsible for making sure that our Arctic coast is safe and everything our country does is absolutely legal and legitimate,” he stressed.
In an effort to mitigate “risks” at the military level, the head of Russian diplomacy proposed reintroducing the mechanism of regular meetings of the chiefs of the General Staff of the member states of the Arctic Council.
“That mechanism worked, but about seven years ago our Western partners decided to freeze it. So if you have decided to freeze it, don’t be angry at not having a dialogue. Dialogue is not suspended by us, ” he insisted.
Russia will assume the rotating chair of the Arctic Council in Iceland’s capital, which includes Canada, Denmark, the United States, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia and Sweden.
Last week, in addition to agreeing to the meeting, Lavrov and Blinken discussed in a telephone conversation a proposal to hold a summit between Washington’s presidents of both nuclear powers, Russian Vladimir Putin and American Joe Biden.
If that happens, it will be the first high-level meeting between the leaders of the two countries since Putin and former US President Donald Trump met in Helsinki in July 2018.