US-Russia ties not a relationship of trust: Sullivan

TEHRAN, Jun. 07 (MNA) – US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan says the relationship between Washington and Moscow is not a one based on trust.

“Taking the measure of another president is not about trusting them.  And the relationship between the U.S. and Russia is not about a relationship of trust.  It’s about a relationship of verification.  It’s about a relationship of clarifying what our expectations are and laying out that if certain kinds of harmful activities continue to occur, there will be responses from the United States,” he said on Monday in a press briefing in the White House.

“Now, we have made clear repeatedly, and I will reinforce again today, that we do not regard a meeting with the Russian president as a reward.  We regard it as a vital part of defending America’s interests and America’s values.  Joe Biden is not meeting with Vladimir Putin despite our countries’ differences; he’s meeting with him because of our countries’ differences.  There is simply a lot we have to work through,” he said, according to the White House presser.

“At the end of the day, what we are looking to do is for the two presidents to be able to send a clear signal on question — to their teams on questions of strategic stability so that we can make progress in arms control and other nuclear areas to reduce tension and instability in that aspect of the relationship.  And then, second, being able to look President Putin in the eye and say, “This is what America’s expectations are.  This is what America stands for.  This is what America is all about.””

He also went on to say “This, we believe, is an essential aspect of US-Russia diplomacy because President Putin is a singular kind of personalized leader, and having the opportunity to come together in a summit will allow us to manage this relationship and stand up and defend American values most effectively.”

The first face-to-face meeting between the two presidents is scheduled to take place in the Swiss city of Geneva on 16 June.

Prior to the summit, the US president agreed with a journalist's description of Putin as a "killer", in a move that raised some eyebrows and prompted Russia to temporarily recall its ambassador from the US. Putin responded to his American counterpart with wishes of good health.

Later in April, the two leaders held a telephone conversation in the wake of the virtual Leaders Summit on Climate, to which Biden had invited the Russian president. At the time, Putin and Biden expressed their desire to continue the dialogue and mull the possibility of a personal meeting.

While the importance of the Geneva summit has been highlighted, the Kremlin warned against "inflated expectations" from the meeting, as there is yet "no reason to expect any progress in reaching [an] understanding". The fact that the summit will take place, however, is seen by Moscow as "a very positive sign despite the deplorable state of bilateral relations".

MAH/PR

News Code 174531

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