Krem­lin says U.S., Rus­sia can mend ties with re­spect

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - NATIONAL & WORLD -

By The As­so­ci­ated Press

MOSCOW — The Krem­lin said Thurs­day that Rus­sia and the United States can fix their rav­aged re­la­tions with in­ter­ac­tions based on mu­tual re­spect once Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump takes of­fice. Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told re­porters that while Moscow and Wash­ing­ton won’t agree on ev­ery­thing, they can nor­mal­ize their strained re­la­tions if they show “mu­tual re­spect.”

“Moscow hopes that our pres­i­dents will get along well,” Peskov said.

Peskov made the state­ment while com­ment­ing on the news con­fer­ence Trump held Wed­nes­day in New York. Trump voiced hope he will get along with his Rus­sian coun­ter­part af­ter he takes of­fice next Fri­day.

“If Putin likes Don­ald Trump, guess what, folks? That’s called an as­set, not a li­a­bil­ity,” Trump said. “I don’t know if I’m go­ing to get along with Vladimir Putin. I hope I do, but there’s a good chance I won’t.”

Peskov wel­comed Trump’s readi­ness to con­duct a di­a­logue with Rus­sia, adding that “it will help us find a way from many dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tions.”

He also reaf­firmed Moscow’s strong de­nial of any med­dling by Rus­sia in the U.S. pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

Peskov pre­vi­ously de­nied re­ports that Rus­sia had com­pro­mis­ing per­sonal and fi­nan­cial in­for­ma­tion about Trump. The pres­i­dent-elect has dis­missed the in­for­ma­tion that sur­faced pub­licly this week as “phony stuff” leaked by “sick peo­ple.”

Alexan­der Lebe­dev, a Rus­sian mul­ti­mil­lion­aire busi­ness­man who served as a KGB of­fi­cer posted to Lon­don in the wan­ing years of the Cold War, also dis­missed the newly re­leased Trump file as a poorly ex­e­cuted fake.

“It looks like a slip­shod work done by a bun­gler,” Lebe­dev said of the un­cor­rob­o­rated dossier in a tele­phone in­ter­view with The As­so­ci­ated Press. “It’s dif­fi­cult to imag­ine big­ger am­a­teur­ish non­sense.”

Lebe­dev owns Bri­tain’s Even­ing Stan­dard and In­de­pen­dent news­pa­pers. He said he hoped that Trump and Putin could find com­mon ground on a va­ri­ety of is­sues, in­clud­ing Syria. Trump has sug­gested that the U.S. and Rus­sia pool their ef­forts in com­bat­ing the Is­lamic State group in Syria.

“There is a chance for them to make a big deal,” Lebe­dev said.

He said Moscow and Wash­ing­ton could also team up to tackle money laun­der­ing and other fi­nan­cial crimes.

Lebe­dev said Rus­sia could be an ef­fi­cient part­ner in the in­ter­na­tional fight against fi­nan­cial crimes, point­ing at re­cent ef­forts by the Krem­lin to crack down on of­fi­cial cor­rup­tion.

Peskov

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