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President Putin Addresses U.S.-Russia Relations, Other Vital Strategic Issues, at Primakov Readings International Forum

Nov. 30, 2016 (EIRNS)—In a speech today before the second annual Primakov Readings International Forum in Moscow, President Vladimir Putin recalled the brilliant diplomatic skills and strategic thinking of the "original thinker" Yevgeny Primakov, who served Russia in many capacities throughout his long career, to address crucial issues facing Russia, and the world, today. High on the agenda was the subject of U.S.-Russia relations.

The gathering, which was established to honor Primakov’s legacy—he died 18 months ago—was hosted by the Institute of the World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO), the flagship social sciences institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, of which Primakov was deputy director in the 1970s and director from 1985-89.

On U.S.-Russia relations, Putin pointed to Primakov’s belief that "without a serious partnership between Russia and the United States," it would be difficult to address the world’s "big challenges." While U.S.-Russian relations have deteriorated badly over the past few years, he said, now that a new President will soon enter the White House,

"we hope that this will create an opportunity to improve these relations, which are so important not only for our two peoples, but also for ensuring international stability and security."

He noted that in his recent phone conversations with President-elect Trump, the two agreed that "something must certainly be done about the current unsatisfactory state of bilateral relations."

Putin took on the issue of regime-change by referencing Primakov’s authority on Mideastern affairs. Even prior to the "Arab Spring," he said, Primakov had warned "about the disaster that would ensue" if secular Middle Eastern regimes were toppled. His words proved true, sadly, Putin intoned, and then, "the Middle East was plunged into the series of bloody conflicts and has become a hotbed of terrorism and religious extremism."

This is why, Putin insisted, cooperation among "all the concerned influential international players is an essential conditions for normalizing the situation in the Middle East." It is in this context, "that our initiative to form a broad front for fighting terrorism should be made reality." Unfortunately, he added, this hasn’t yet happened, "but there is no alternative."

Primakov understood the need for compromise and peaceful resolution of conflicts in international affairs, as well as "the inadmissibility of intervening in the affairs of sovereign states by bypassing the United Nations Charter," the Russian President asserted. He had the "truly strategic vision" that allowed him to "look into the future and see how unviable and one-sided" was the model of a unipolar world. It was Primakov, Putin said, who first advocated trilateral cooperation among Russia, China and India which then evolved into the BRICS, "which is gaining weight and influence in the world." Moreover, Primakov’s insistence on maintaining close ties with partners in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS),

"is the backbone of our integration policy in Eurasia... We hope that talks with our partners, including those on linking up with China’s Silk Road Economic Belt project, will enable us to build a big Eurasian partnership."

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