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U.S. and Russia Hold ‘Tough’ Talks in Washington

July 18, 2017 (EIRNS)—Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov met with Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon for two-and-a-half hours, yesterday, after a previously scheduled meeting between the two men had been canceled by the Russian side. Ryabkov told TASS that he had laid out to Shannon the conditions for improving U.S.-Russian relations, including but not limited to the return of the two diplomatic compounds that had been seized under orders from President Obama in December 2016. "We came up with a number of ideas on how to achieve a visible and tangible improvement in relations," he said. "However, it would be an exaggeration to say that we are on the verge of finding a solution and resolving this situation." According to Ryabkov, the meeting with Shannon "went off predictably."

"We expected great difficulties during the consultations with the Americans not only on the diplomatic property issue, but on most other issues as well, and so it happened,"

he stated. He warned, however, that if the properties are not returned, retaliation will follow.

"The conversation was tough, forthright, and deliberate, reflecting both parties’ commitment to a resolution," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert reported in a statement this morning. "The talks reflected a spirit of goodwill, but it is clear that more work needs to be done." Shannon and Ryabkov, the statement further reported, are

"committed to holding future New START [Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty] Bilateral Consultative Commission and Strategic Stability Talks and will exchange scheduling proposals in the near future."

In Moscow, the Foreign Ministry issued a statement after the meeting saying that Russia is ready to revive a regular dialogue with the U.S. on strategic stability, but the matter depends on Washington. "Some current strategic stability issues have been touched upon," the Russian ministry noted.

"The American partners’ attention was drawn to the fact that Russia stands for renewal of a regular dialogue on this problem that had been suspended by the former U.S. administration."

"It’s up to Washington," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.