Sergey Lavrov: Now is the time for Russia and the US to cease to be adversaries

Share
Related Topics

There is a new dynamic in Russia-US relations - a positive change that reflects the imperatives of these challenging times. The "London spirit" of the first meeting of presidents Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama in London revitalized the equality, mutual respect, and mutual benefit that must form the basis of our two countries' cooperation. These are fundamental first steps. As President Medvedev has noted, a crisis of trust developed between us in recent years. Our political relationship became too adversarial. Overcoming this legacy will take time. So Russia and the US must jointly manage expectations to ensure that attempts to "reset" our relationship succeed. This does not mean shying away from setting ambitious goals. But it does require a sober assessment of what is really possible, and the time it will take to accomplish these goals.





President Obama's visit to Russia today will be a major milestone in this process. The agenda for the summit comprises various subjects - reduction of strategic offensive arms; nuclear nonproliferation; settlement of regional conflicts; countering terrorism, drug trafficking, and transborder crime; strengthening economic and cultural ties; structuring joint dialogue mechanisms. In the spirit of commitment to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, we will strive to achieve real progress in disarmament and arms control. President Medvedev's commitment to make "real and verifiable" reductions in our nuclear arsenal indicates how far we are prepared to go. Success in this area will provide hope that we can eventually achieve our common goal of a nuclear-free world.

Russia and the US have unique experience in ensuring the safety and security of nuclear material. The presidents will discuss practical ways of making this experience available to other countries, to promote peaceful uses of nuclear energy while strengthening the nonproliferation regime. For instance, we see good prospects for the "P5+1" effort to find a political solution to the problems associated with Iran's nuclear program that takes into account the legitimate security concerns of all countries of the region as well as Iran's important role there. And Russia and the US share the goal of persuading North Korea to respond to the will of the international community and resume participation in the Six-Party Talks to negotiate a solution to the nuclear problem on the Korean peninsula. We should also continue implementation of such joint initiatives as preventing nonstate actors from acquiring nuclear material.

Another priority is streamlining the Euro-Atlantic security architecture - the principle to which we all officially agreed but which has failed to be put into practice. In London the two presidents agreed to discuss the Russian initiative on a new treaty aimed at ensuring indivisible security for all in the Euro-Atlantic region. This will be an important topic of the July summit.

Russia's interests align with US interests elsewhere, too. The countries are moving toward a new level of cooperation on Afghanistan. Since March, we have worked with the US and NATO to allow the transit of nonmilitary goods across Russia, and we continue to look for ways to work together to curb terrorism, drug trafficking, and organized crime in Afghanistan. Here again a genuine collective effort of the international community is required, including the full integration of states in the region. Also, together with other members of the "Quartet" (Russia, the US, the United Nations, and the European Union) and in close consultation with countries in the region, we are helping create conditions for a resumption of Palestinian-Israeli negotiations on an internationally recognized legal and conceptual basis, including the two-state principle and the Arab peace initiative. It is in this spirit that our two nations are working together to hold a Middle East conference in Moscow later this year.

Finally, the summit in Moscow is an opportunity to continue discussions of the world economic crisis. As members of the G8 and G20, we should continue working to modernize the global financial architecture and address issues such as creating regional reserve currencies and giving emerging economies greater voice in multilateral financial institutions. Strengthening trade and investment ties between Russia and the US will also help ensure that our mutual efforts to "reset" our relationship are sustainable across a wide range of issues over the long term.

Russia and the US bear a special responsibility in world affairs. We have much to offer the rest of the world. Our common history testifies to this, and modern challenges demand that we work together. To succeed, we need to be guided by the wisdom of the great Albert Einstein who said: "Problems can't be solved at the same level of consciousness that created them." Indeed, we must move beyond the adversarial relationship of the past several years, toward one marked by trust and mutual responsibility.

Sergey Lavrov is Russia's foreign affairs minister. This article first appeared in Newsweek.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost, Data Mining

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...

Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Support, Help desk)

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...

Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Learning, SQL, Brokerage)

£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Lea...

UNIX Application Support Analyst- Support, UNIX, London

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: UNIX Application Support Analyst-...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US  

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Robert Fisk
 

Next they'll say an independent Scotland can't use British clouds...

Mark Steel
Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape