Lavrov: Reset in Russian-U.S. relations completed, time to upgrade software

The reset in Russian-U.S. relations has produced its results, and the two countries need to start strengthening their economic ties now in order to safeguard these relations from changes in the political situation, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview published in the Wednesday issue of Kommersant.

"If we talk about the reset, considering the computer origin of this term, it is immediately clear that it cannot last endlessly. Otherwise this is not a reset but a program malfunction. It would be wrong to focus narrowly on the definition of this or that stage. It is better to think how to develop relations. Or, using the computer lingo again, upgrade the software," Lavrov said.

This is exactly what Russia is doing now, Lavrov said. "The U.S. and we have an intense agenda. In the future, we plan to attach particular significance to qualitatively new dynamics of our trade and investment cooperation. The broader our economic ties, the stronger the safety net guaranteeing Russian-American relations from fluctuations in the political situation," he said.

Lavrov acknowledged that some important things should be postponed until after the election campaign in the U.S. "But our American partners are practically-minded people. The election rhetoric across the ocean will soon be phased out and will be replaced by meticulous day-to-day work. We are prepared for it," he said.

The vector of interaction between Russia and the U.S. determined by the reset has justified itself, Lavrov said. "We have managed to expand the scope of the bilateral dialogue and achieve essential practical results. Here are some landmarks: the conclusion of the New START, Russia's accession to the WTO, and the recent entry into force of the Russian-American agreement facilitating visa regulations," he said.

Lavrov also mentioned problems in relations between Russia and the U.S., among them missile defense. "Unfortunately, the U.S. is making decisions on missile defense without our interests taken into account. What matters most to us is that missile defense systems developed by the U.S. should not upset the balance of forces that has been formed for decades and not undermine Russian nuclear deterrence forces. There is a need for clear guarantees upheld by a reliable verification mechanism. Washington is not so far prepared to offer them," he said.

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