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Russia’s Ryabkov Notes ‘Considerable Progress’ in Dialogue with U.S. on Syria; States ‘Serious Concern’ over BMD Deployments

Aug. 24, 2017 (EIRNS)—In a wide-ranging interview with Chinese and Japanese mass media yesterday, which TASS and other Russian media covered in a series of wires, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov stated that "We have recently noticed a considerable progress in our dialogue with the United States on Syria." He made these comments in the context of discussing Russia’s "extremely balanced and moderate" responses to recent U.S. hostile actions, including new sanctions, noting that "we have been carefully calibrating our retaliatory political and diplomatic measures," because Russia has the right under international law to retaliate, "but we understand that in some cases it will do us no good."

Instead, Ryabkov said, the two countries should cooperate in two main areas: arms control and non-proliferation, around which "we expect that soon certain contacts will resume;" and "resolving regional conflicts" such as Syria. "The concepts of the de-escalation zones, which were drawn up by us without the participation of the U.S., but involving other partners, particularly Turkey and Iran, proved to be efficient... In fact, we believe the involvement of the U.S. in this constructive work is very fruitful, and we will continue this further."

Overall, Ryabkov stated, there are still prospects "for certain improvement" in relations with the United States under the Trump administration. Asked about the possibility of open conflict between the two countries, Ryabkov said "I don’t think such confrontation is possible in the new environment.... [The situation] is not equal to a state which threatens to evolve into a hot war."

As for U.S.-Japanese dialogue,

"We are closely monitoring the way the dialogue advances, as well as cooperation within the U.S.-Japan alliance. We are concerned about it,"

he noted.

"Some aspects of friendly relations between Tokyo and Washington directly affect our interests in the sphere of security. I mean here, in a point of fact, development of missile defense cooperation and the prospects for creation of additional systems in Japan, such as Aegis Ashore, in particular, which was stated last week. We are seriously concerned about it, and we make it clear for our counterparts in a rather direct way," Ryabkov added.