Moscow will not take initiative in restarting Bilateral Presidential Commission - Kremlin

The Kremlin regrets Washington's decision to suspend the U.S.-Russian Bilateral Presidential Commission but ruled out a possibility of Moscow taking the initiative to restart its work.

The Kremlin regrets Washington's decision to suspend the U.S.-Russian Bilateral Presidential Commission but ruled out a possibility of Moscow taking the initiative to restart its work.

"This is ruled out, you cannot force one to like you," Russian President's Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov told the Kommersant daily, when asked about the possibility of such an initiative.

Moscow took the White House's decision with regret. "We reacted to these actions with regret, they can cause nothing else," Peskov said.

"Effectively, we are losing channels of bilateral communication in all kinds of topical issues," he said.

The decision to set up the Bilateral Presidential Commission was made in July 2009 at a meeting between the then Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, and U.S. President Barack Obama in Moscow. The commission faced the task of boosting the U.S.-Russia relationship by intensifying cooperation across the whole range of areas.

To this end, the commission set up 13 working groups, whose number subsequently rose to 21. The commission was coordinated by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

The State Department said this week it suspended cooperation across the whole range of areas in the framework of the commission. The Russian Foreign Ministry has already called this decision "an ill-considered step capable of causing damage to the U.S.-Russian relations."

The U.S. has already made previous steps to restrict the work of the commission. In particular, Washington discontinued its working group for civil society.

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