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Russia, U.S. seek common development amid arm-wrestling

English.news.cn   2012-11-23 19:09:24            

MOSCOW, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- Russia and the United States are trying to seek common development despite disagreements over such issues as the Syria crisis, anti-missile defense and the Magnitsky bill.

On the sidelines of the East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met Tuesday with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to coordinate their stance on the issues.

At their meeting, both sides could not see eye to eye on Syria issues. Lavrov said Moscow was committed to adhering to the terms of the Geneva declaration, which envisages a Syrian-led transition.

However, the United States supported the opposition and Clinton mentioned "ultimatums and deadlines" for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Meanwhile, Moscow and Washington have been spatting over the deployment of U.S.-European missile defense facilities near Russia's borders for a long time.

The Kremlin claimed the deployment would be a threat to its national security and called for legally-binding guarantees from the White House and NATO that the missile shield will not target Russia. However, the requests were refused.

Last week, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov warned of a possible withdrawal of his country from the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty responding to disagreements on the U.S. missile shield.

Besides, the Russia-U.S. relations soured over the Magnitsky bill, which was approved last Friday by the U.S. House of Representatives.

The approval of the bill is an "unfriendly and provocative attack," said the Russian Foreign Ministry, adding the move will negatively impact the Russia-U.S. ties and there will be harsh counteraction.

The bill required the U.S. government to impose sanctions on people believed responsible for the death of Sergei Magnitsky, an anti-corruption lawyer who died in a Moscow jail in 2009.

Analysts say an arm-wrestling between the two countries both on global issues and in bilateral relations will cloud the outlook of the international situation, especially when conflicts in some regions were continuously intensified.

Dmitry Polikanov, deputy director of the Russian Center for Policy Studies, said a shouting match between Russia and the United States will be detrimental not only to their ties, but also to international security.

Polikanov called on the two sides to seek common interests. "Many people have long been fed up with the labels like nuclear disarmament and anti-missile defense, therefore business interests, humanitarian cooperation should come to the front, and these issues should be preserved and developed."

In recent years, Moscow and Washington have witnessed a "reset" in relations launched by U.S. President Barack Obama and then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in 2009.

However, the Russia-U.S. ties have cooled since Putin voiced plans to return to the Kremlin for a third term.

Polikanov said Obama's re-election as U.S. president would provide an "opportunity" for both countries to boost pragmatic cooperation.

"It is clear that this is a historically short opportunity for a breakthrough which could be missed again," he said.

Editor: Tang Danlu
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