14 May 201917:01

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks during talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Sochi, May 14, 2019

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Mr Secretary of State, colleagues,

We are pleased to welcome you to Sochi.

Recently, on May 6, we talked in Finland on the sidelines of the Arctic Council, where we had a productive exchange of views on important international and a number of bilateral issues. I hope that we will be able to continue to discuss them in a more detailed manner today.

I hope that today we will be able to try to work out concrete proposals aimed at pulling Russia-US relations out of their current sad state in which they find themselves due to a variety of objective and subjective reasons. All the more so as such a goal was formulated by our respective presidents during last year’s summit in Helsinki and reiterated during a recent telephone conversation.

We face many problems that need immediate action and long-term system-wide solutions. This includes ensuring strategic stability and arranging more effective work on the antiterrorist track, as well as resolving acute crises in various regions of the world.

We understand that much suspicion and prejudice has piled up on both sides, but neither you nor we are benefitting from it. On the contrary, mutual bitterness increases the risks to your security and ours, and is of concern to the entire international community.

I believe it's time to start building a new, more responsible and constructive, matrix of how we see each other. We are ready to do so, of course, if our US partners are interested in doing so as well. Of course, restoring a trust-based dialogue at various levels, from the highest to the working levels, is an important prerequisite if we want our efforts to be successful. The fact that we are meeting for the second time in the past two weeks inspires certain optimism.

Let's give it a try and see what happens.

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