There is no new “Iron Curtain” between Russia and the US, the Russian Foreign Minister said, predicting that relations between the two world powers will improve, though time which could have been used to mend ties has been wasted.
“I don’t think that the term ‘Iron Curtain’ could be applied to Russia-US relations at the current stage,” Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told RIA Novosti on Monday.
However, a number of actions had been taken by the American side which did not help to warm US-Russia ties, the top diplomat said. Among others, he noted economic sanctions imposed on Moscow and seizure of its diplomatic property on American soil, as well as restrictions placed on Russian media.
While there is a new outbreak of McCarthyism in the United States, there are also some reasons to be optimistic about the future of US-Russia relations, Lavrov said.
“I am personally confident that, just like everyone got tired of a witch hunt launched by Senator Joseph McCarthy once upon a time, there will be a sobering up and recovery [of bilateral relations],” he stated.
Moscow, for its part, is not planning to stir up confrontation with Washington but will repel any aggressive move against itself, the Foreign Minister went on. Russia was “acting pragmatically,” despite growing anti-Russia sentiments in the American capital.
Lavrov added that “we will continue to consistently and vigorously defend our position by bringing our colleagues in Washington back to the fundamental principles on which a bilateral dialogue should be built.”
In the meantime, the degree of “Russophobic hysteria” in Washington is reaching new heights, Lavrov said, before adding: “It does not allow us to move forward in areas important for our countries and provokes additional tension in the international arena.”
Exactly like the dialogue with Washington, Moscow is pursuing a reserved policy towards other pressing issues, Lavrov said, taking aim at North Korea. Russia “will never tolerate nor welcome” Pyongyang’s desire to become a nuclear power, but attempts to pressure and blockade North Korea are equally dangerous.
Instead of drawing “red lines” and trying to punish Pyongyang, Moscow stands for making steady efforts to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, Lavrov said. He added that some states advocating blockade on North Korea ought to know that “the execution of such a plan would cause a genuine humanitarian disaster.”
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