Amid the turmoil engulfing Syria, speculations began to surface that ties are strained as US and Russia disagee over the path forward to end crisis in Syria.
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton today said the United States highly value a positive relationship with Russia.
However, she pointed out that both countries also disagree on other issues.
“So this is not a one-sided story. Do we have disagreements? Yes. We obviously disagree over the path forward on Syria.” -Ms. Clinton
She stresses the US government has made it clear to the Russians that the outcome they are most concerned about, which would be a sectarian civil war, is made more likely, not less likely, by the international community’s failure to take a strong position vis-A -vis the Assad regime.
In missile defense agenda, Ms. Clinton highlighted that both countries also disagree on missile defense, but the US goverment continue to have expert consultations and look for a way forward that would be mutually acceptable.
She says Russia just hosted the P-5+1 talks, where Russia is absolutely united with the other members of the P-5+1 in trying to prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon.
She notes that President Putin reaffirmed Russia’s very strong position on that.
The United States worked very hard to get Russia into the WTO, she added.
“We helped to negotiate some last-minute solutions to problems that persisted.” -Ms. Clinton
She cites that it’s a broad-based relationship that both parties are determined to keep moving forward with. But it’s not just about government-to-government.
However, she notes that the US government is going to continue to raise issues of human rights, democratization, transparency, openness.
The United States is committed to deepen relations with Russia, Ms. Clinton said.
Just last week in Mexico during the G-20, President Obama had a chance to sit down with President Putin to discuss US partnership over a wide array of issues, Ms. Clinton cited.
She says both presidents reaffirmed the trajectory of their relationship and the importance of cooperating on as many issues as possible.
“So I think from my perspective, the so-called reset has proven to be a benefit to both countries.” -Ms. Clinton
The reset has not only led to a new START Treaty, which is good for Russia, good for the United States, good for the world, Ms. Clinton said.
She adds the reset is also helpful in reducing nuclear arms and improving nuclear security, and also led to enhanced cooperation over Afghanistan.
She states that there are innumerable areas of cooperation that don’t make headlines that have to do with visas or arrangements over exchanging information, the kinds of day-to-day work of both of two governments that both are trying to smooth out and enhance a broader level of cooperation.
Both countries are also cooperating well in the Arctic Council, something of great importance to Finland, as well as the original 5+3 members of the Arctic Council.
The United States joined with the other Arctic Council members, including Russia, to sign the very first Arctic Council Agreement on search and rescue, she highlighted.
Reports say Russia is still refusing to condemn the war crimes committed by the Syrian regime.
In October, Russia and China vetoed a draft resolution that would have condemned the Assad regime. Russia is opposed to the establishment of safe no-fly zones which means that Russia is explicitly supporting the war-crimes committed by the regime.
Media reports say Sergei Lavrov the Russian Foreign Minister blamed the opposition.
Reports say that Russia is deploying naval military ships in the Mediterranean in an apparent gesture of support for the Assad’s regime.
Some analysts reportedly believe that Russia is worried about its heavy investments in Syria. Russia reportedly invested $30 billion in energy and tourism infrastructure and it has a naval base in the Syrian coastal city of Tartous. Reports say Russia fears that one day the international community might act against one of its client states in the old Soviet Union.
Earlier this week, recognizing Russia’s strategic importance to the United States, Deputy Secretary William J. Burns said U.S.-Russia relations are often an uneasy mix of competition and cooperation.
In his remarks on Russia’s WTO accession at DC, Mr. Burns stressed that the US has real and continuing differences with Russia.
Mr. Burnn said he has spent a good deal of his diplomatic career helping Administrations of both parties navigate US complicated relationship with Russia.
He stressed that while it may be tempting to downplay Russia’s importance, the United States simply does not have that luxury.
He noted that as a permanent member of the UN Security Council; as one of the world’s largest nuclear powers; and as the world’s single largest producer of hydrocarbons, Russia’s strategic importance to the U.S. will matter for many years to come.
In May this year, the United States of America underlined that it’s in US interest to graduate Russia from Jackson-Vanik.
The United States’ trade relationship with Russia is tied to a provision of U.S. trade law (the Jackson-Vanik amendment) enacted in the 1970s to condition normal trade relations (NTR) status on the then-Soviet Union’s willingness to let Jews emigrate freely.
The United States asserts that Jackson-Vanik should be lifted simply unrelated to anything else because it’s in US interest, at the same time strongly supports the goals of the Cardin legislation.
President Obama has been looking of areas of common interest, try to reach practical, real substantive agreements while also being very clear that there would be things we would disagree on and we wouldn’t sweep them under the carpet as we pursued these things, Mr. Gordon added.
Both countries have accomplished numerous thing particularly the New START Treaty or cooperation on Afghanistan which has been very significant to their efforts; or the 123 Nuclear Agreement on civil nuclear cooperation; Russian support on North Korea; and, particularly Iran.
Both countries have been working very hard, in US own interest, to reach an agreement that would benefit the two countries.
The United States has been very clear about the importance of democracy, human rights, and civil society in US foreign policy.
Russia’s membership in the world’s largest rules-based trading system is said to provide tangible benefits to Russia as well as for U.S. businesses.