Lavrov Warns Blinken About Serious Consequences

Lavrov Warns Blinken About Serious Consequences

Photo: http://tass.ru

The negotiations between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken took place in the President Wilson Hotel in Geneva on January 21.

As expected, the dialogue between the two countries was not long. The diplomats talked for about an hour and a half which was less than planned. As experts predicted, there was no breakthrough in the current relations between Russia and the United States. The dialogue was preceded by the diplomats’ openings speeches, traditional for such meetings.

Lavrov thanked the U.S. for the offer to hold a meeting at which Russia's security guarantee proposals would be further discussed. In response, Blinken expressed the hope that “the path of dialogue and diplomacy” with Russia would remain open.

Blinken said ahead of the meeting that the situation in Ukraine would top the agenda, after which other issues of concern to Russia would be discussed. Notably, on the eve of the Geneva summit, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that if the U.S. response “disappoints us,” we will have to make “serious” political decisions.

“We do not want a conflict, do not attack anyone and do not threaten anyone, we want to reliably secure our interests,” said Ryabkov.

It was the USA that requested this meeting from Moscow, during which, according to U.S. representatives, it was possible to get further clarifications on the Russian proposals. In fact, the Americans once again tried to impose their agenda which gave priority to the situation in Ukraine. Lavrov said in this connection that this had already become a kind of fixation for Western partners.

Last December, Russia published a draft treaty with NATO and the U.S. on security guarantees. Moscow demands include a halt to NATO’s eastward expansion and a ban on granting membership to Ukraine and Georgia and setting up military bases in the post-Soviet space.

As previously reported, Russia and the U.S. had already held a dialogue in Geneva on January 10, at which the parties discussed strategic stability issues. Two days later, the Russia-NATO Council met in Brussels to discuss the Russian proposals. After the meeting, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Washington had promised to give a written answer to Moscow's proposals next week. He also noted that the United States and NATO countries were not very good at fulfilling their promises. The way it turned out, there was no answer in a week, and Blinken had not raised this issue during the last talks.

During the meeting Lavrov urged Blinken to stop speculating on the imaginary topic of Russia's impending “invasion” of Ukraine. “We had a frank conversation with Tony Blinken today about it,” he said. “He agreed that, in general, of course, we should have a more reasonable dialogue and hope that emotions will diminish, although there are no guarantees.”

According to Lavrov, the US secretary of state told him he was satisfied with the exchange of views, which would help the US to submit its written reaction to Russia next week. Lavrov and Blinken only seem to have one point on which they agree: bilateral relations “are unsatisfactory.”

The night before, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued the following message: “It has been made clear to Anthony Blinken that further disregard for the legitimate concerns of the Russian Federation associated primarily with the continued military development of Ukraine by the United States and its NATO allies against the background of the large-scale deployment of alliance forces and assets near our borders will have the most serious consequences.”

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