US, Rus­sia ‘can set­tle prob­lems’ Wash­ing­ton to re­spond by Sept 1 to Moscow’s ex­pul­sion of diplo­mats

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

MANILA — US Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son said on Mon­day he be­lieves that Wash­ing­ton and Rus­sia can find a way to ease ten­sions, say­ing it wouldn’t be use­ful to cut ties over the sin­gle is­sue of al­leged Rus­sian med­dling in the US elec­tion last year.

Tiller­son said Rus­sia had also ex­pressed some will­ing­ness to re­sume talks on the cri­sis in Ukraine, where a 2015 cease-fire be­tween Kiev’s forces and lo­cal mili­tia forces in the east­ern part of the coun­try is reg­u­larly vi­o­lated.

“We should find places we can work to­gether. ... In places we have dif­fer­ences we’re go­ing to have to con­tinue to find ways to ad­dress those,” Tiller­son told re­porters.

He also said the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has yet to de­cide how to re­spond to Rus­sia’s move to ex­pel hun­dreds of US diplo­mats, but plans to de­liver a re­sponse to Moscow by Sept 1.

Rus­sia said re­cently it was forc­ing the US to cut its em­bassy and con­sulate staff in Rus­sia by 755 peo­ple, a move that echoed former pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s ac­tion to kick out Rus­sian diplo­mats for Moscow’s al­leged med­dling.

Tiller­son met his Rus­sian coun­ter­part, Sergei Lavrov, on the side­lines of an in­ter­na­tional gath­er­ing in Manila on Sun­day, where he also asked about Moscow’s re­tal­i­a­tion to new US sanc­tions against Rus­sia.

The meet­ing was their first since Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump re­luc­tantly signed into law the sanc­tions that Rus­sia said amounted to a full-scale trade war and ended hopes for bet­ter ties.

Lavrov on Sun­day said he be­lieved his US col­leagues were ready to con­tinue di­a­logue with Moscow on com­plex is­sues de­spite ten­sions.

We are ready to nor­mal­ize the di­a­logue, if Wash­ing­ton gives up the con­fronta­tional line.” Sergei Lavrov, Rus­sian for­eign min­is­ter

“Nat­u­rally, such ac­tions (the US sanc­tions), in­clud­ing the il­le­gal seizure of our diplo­matic prop­erty since De­cem­ber last year, could not be left unan­swered,” Lavrov said in a state­ment is­sued through the TASS Rus­sian News Agency.

“At the same time, we are ready to nor­mal­ize the di­a­logue, if Wash­ing­ton gives up the con­fronta­tional line,” he added.

‘Se­ri­ous’ in­ci­dent

Tiller­son said he dis­cussed Rus­sia’s al­leged med­dling with Lavrov to “help them un­der­stand how se­ri­ous this in­ci­dent had been and how se­ri­ously it dam­aged the re­la­tion­ship” be­tween the two na­tions.

But Tiller­son said that should not ir­re­versibly dam­age ties.

“The fact that we want to work with them on ar­eas that are of se­ri­ous na­tional se­cu­rity in­ter­est to us, and at the same time hav­ing this ex­tra­or­di­nary is­sue of mis­trust that di­vides us, that is just what we in the diplo­matic part of our re­la­tion­ship are re­quired to do,” Tiller­son said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.