Daily US Times: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met on Wednesday, the first high-level encounter between the US and Russia since Joe Biden took oath to Oval office, which comes amid heightened tensions between the US and Russia — friction Blinken acknowledged right away.
Blinken said at the top of the meeting: “It’s also no secret that we have our differences.” They both had greeted each other warmly.
The US Secretary of State said: “When it comes to those differences, as President Biden has also shared with President Putin, if Russia acts aggressively against us, our partners, our allies, we’ll respond,”
Mr Blinken said as as he and Lavrov sat facing each other at a long rectangular table flanked by their delegations: “And President Biden has demonstrated that in both word and deed, not for purposes of escalation, not to seek conflict, but to defend our interests.”
But Mr Blinken added: “Having said that, there are many areas where our interests intersect and overlap.”
The top US diplomats urged cooperation on a range of “intersecting interests” including the Covid-19 pandemic, dealing with the nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea, climate change and Afghanistan.
Blinken said: “We seek a predictable, stable relationship with Russia. We think that’s good for our people, good for the Russian people and indeed good for the world.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov responded by saying that Russia’s “position is clear. We are prepared to discuss all issues on the table, with the understanding that our discussions will be honest, factual and with mutual respect.”