Russia is able to join with the US to repair ties which were hurt by positions taken by the previous Obama administration, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has told an Austrian periodical.
Media reports in recent weeks have speculated about the possibility of a warming of ties between Moscow and Washington since President Donald Trump took office.
Trump and Russian President Vladimir spoke for nearly an hour last week and discussed efforts to destroy the Islamic State.
“We are ready to take our part of the road to restore the relations with the US, which have degraded not because of us, but as result of the specially organized actions of the Washington’s former administration,” Lavrov said in comments republished by the Russian news agency TASS.
Trump had hinted that he would consider lifting sanctions slapped on Russia for its alleged involvement in arming and intervening on behalf of pro-Moscow militias in Ukraine. Moscow has always denied the allegation made by members of former President Barack Obama’s cabinet.
However, new US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley criticzed Russia on Wednesday during a Security Council meeting to discuss an upsurge in fighting in eastern Ukraine.
“We do want to better our relations with Russia, however the dire situation in eastern Ukraine is one that demands clear and strong condemnation of Russian actions,” Haley said. “This escalation of violence must stop.”
But Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin met with Haley later and described her as more friendly than her predecessor.
Nevertheless, Lavrov said that it would require “serious efforts from both sides … to overcome the severe damage done to our relations under Barack Obama”.
“We are confident, in case of mutual interest, Russia and the US, no doubt, are capable not only of moving forward in settlement of bilateral issues, but also to make a joint input in effective overcoming of key modern problems,” Lavrov told the Austrian magazine.
“Especially of demand is coordination of our countries’ efforts in fighting international terrorism.”