WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 10th December, 2019) Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov comes Tuesday on a rare visit to the United States where he is expected to discuss a variety of bilateral and global issues with President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo amid sanctions and accusations still dictating the mood of the two countries' relationship with declared good intentions struggling to sprout.
Lavrov's trip comes on the heels of the Normandy format meeting in Paris, a long-awaited step towards resolving Ukrainian crisis and mending ties between Russia and the West, against the backdrop of burgeoning debates on the future of the strategic arms controls, unresolved conflicts in Syria, Libya, Venezuela and North Korea where both countries publicly trade barbs, but acknowledge the role for each other.
"On December 10, Lavrov will pay a working visit to Washington. He is expected to be received by US President Trump and hold talks with Secretary of State Pompeo. The sides are expected to consider a wide range of issues regarding the current state and further development of Russian-American relations, as well as urgent issues on the international agenda," a source in the Russian Foreign Ministry told reporters.
Senior US Administration official confirmed to Sputnik that Trump would be meeting Lavrov and Pompeo to discuss "the state of bilateral relationship."
Lavrov arrives in Washington at the invitation of Pompeo, who visited Sochi last May and hold a meeting there with Russia's President Vladimir Putin. Trump hosted Russian Foreign Minister at the White House during his previous US visit in May 2017. Last September, they had a brief talk on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.
"Trump has publicly and in working contacts more than once talked about his desire to 'get along' with Russia, to find common ground on various tracks of interaction. The President of Russia also noted that we were ready to take reciprocal steps to improve the situation in relations that have degraded and not through our fault," a Russian Foreign Ministry official said. "However in practice the Trump administration policy towards Russia reproduces the course of 'systemic deterrence' of our country, set by [former US President] Barack Obama."
The official also said the United States has used sanctions against Russia 77 times since 2011. It has happened 37 times under Trump, who is accused by his political opponents of benefitting from alleged Russia's interference into 2016 American elections, a claim Moscow flatly denies. Over 300 Russian individuals and almost 500 companies are subject to various US penalties. Russia as a whole is designated as a US adversary and major threat to American geopolitical dominance.
Russia has criticized the United States for dismantling the global arms control regime but has been recently seeing its willingness to engage in a dialogue on the strategic stability. Moscow says it is ready to reciprocate by extending the New START treaty beyond its 2021 expiry date and discussing with the Americans the broader framework.
Russian diplomatic source also hailed "professional" bilateral contacts on "selected global and regional" issues, including Syria, Afghanistan and North Korea, the re-establishment of the US-Russia Working Group on Counterterrorism, "robust dynamics" of the dialogue between the national security councils.
He called it "sparse and insufficient" to talk about qualitative changes in the relations between the two countries, but reiterated Russia's willingness to move beyond negativity and look for solutions to all existing problems.
Pompeo said that Trump had specifically asked him to work on business-to-business relations with Russia. Russia's trade with the US is rebounding after dropping to $20 billion from the highs of $30 billion in 2014. It's expected to reach $27 billion Dollars in 2019.