, MOSCOW, Russia Sept 28 – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov thinks relations between Moscow and Washington need a new “reset”, he says in an interview to be aired Sunday, blaming the freeze on the United States.
“Now what’s needed is something that the Americans will call a ‘reset’,” Lavrov told Russia’s Channel 5 television, according to a transcript published on the foreign ministry’s website.
He was referring to the drive to improve strained ties launched by President Barack Obama in 2009, when Lavrov’s then US counterpart Hillary Clinton handed him a red button with the word “reset” mispelled in Russian.
“Today the present administration is destroying in large part the structures for cooperation that it itself created jointly with us,” Lavrov lamented in the interview set to air late Sunday.
“Probably they will think up something else: Reset No. 2 or Reset 2.0,” he joked.
He blamed the United States for the worsening relations as Washington has imposed harsh sanctions on Russian banks and companies and individuals close to President Vladimr Putin over Moscow’s role in the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
“The main problem is that we absolutely have an interest in normalising these relations, but it was not us who destroyed them,” Lavrov said.
He said he talked frequently with Secretary of State John Kerry and there “are other channels of communication,” but complained that: “We can’t force the Americans to be friends with us, or even to hear us.”
Bilateral dialogue continues, but in a “very reduced and truncated form”, Lavrov said.
He said joint projects between Russia and the United States in areas such as drugs control and fighting terrorism were now all frozen “on the initiative of the American side”.