Russia's Lavrov hails new tone of dialogue with U.S. under Obama
Says bilateral dialogue has changed dramatically
Russia`s foreign minister said on Thursday that since the meeting between President Dmitry Medvedev and U.S. President Barack Obama, bilateral dialogue has changed dramatically.
The presidents met for the first time on April 1, ahead of the G20 summit in London.
"This definitely allows us to speak about the beginning of a new atmosphere in Russian-American relations, and the birth of a new culture of dialogue, a culture of mutual respect, with an understanding that the sides will strive not only to listen, but to hear one another," Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with RIA Novosti, the Voice of Russia radio station and the Russia Today TV channel.
He said there is now a greater focus on achieving practical goals.
"I believe this is the most important positive signal, which distinguishes the current stage of Russian-U.S. relations from previous years, and I hope the result of this will be that, in saying the right words, we turn them into practical actions."
On the "reset" in bilateral ties frequently mentioned since Obama`s election, Lavrov said: "I would prefer that we swapped these terms and slogans for the substance of relations. We are a long way from starting from zero in Russian-American interaction - a lot of positive things have developed in these relations, and the main problem has been that the words have diverged from actions."
On the perceived struggle between Russia and the U.S. for influence in the post-Soviet space, Lavrov said the two countries should not hold "hidden agendas" in their policies toward these countries.
"It is unacceptable to give them [former Soviet republics] a false choice - either you are with us or against us - as this will result in a battle for spheres of influence, something which Russian foreign policy has been accused of. We are not doing this. We are developing equal and beneficial relations with everyone."