Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says Russia has “significant differences” with the United States in how it views world affairs but is ready to discuss contentious issues with Washington based on honesty and mutual respect.
Lavrov made the remarks after a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the sidelines of the Arctic Council Ministerial summit in the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik on Wednesday.
The Russian foreign minister described his first face-to-face meeting with Blinken as “constructive” and hoped that the two countries’ leaders would find ways to mend bilateral relations.
“The conversation seemed to me constructive. There is an understanding of the need to overcome the unhealthy situation that developed between Moscow and Washington in previous years,” Lavrov was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies after nearly two hours of talks with Blinken.
“We have significant differences in assessing the international situation, in approaches to the tasks that need to be solved to normalize it. Our position is very simple: we are ready to discuss any issues, without any exception, having an understanding that this discussion will be honest, with presented facts and of course, on the basis of mutual respect,” the Russian foreign minister said.
Blinken, for his part, said it was “no secret that we have our differences,” but it would be to the world’s advantage if the leaders of the two countries worked together on such issues as the coronavirus pandemic and climate change.
“We think that’s good for our people, good for the Russian people, and indeed good for the world,” he said.
Relations between the two countries hit a new low in March after Biden said in an interview that he believed Putin was a “killer” and that the Russian president would have to “pay a price” for what he alleged was interference in the 2020 US presidential election. Moscow has denied such allegations.
More recently, tensions escalated between the two sides over the Russian-speaking Donbass region of Ukraine, where Ukrainian troops and pro-Russia forces have been fighting since 2014.
Kiev and its Western allies accuse Moscow of having a hand in the crisis. Moscow, however, denies the allegations.