Russian and U.S. Top Ambassadors Join Together in Unusual Global Business Webinar
June 30, 2020 (EIRNS)—Speaking from the U.S. embassy in Moscow, U.S. Ambassador John J. Sullivan joined Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Anatoly Antonov in D.C. as co-keynote speakers at a 2.5-hour business webinar, the “Texas-Urals Virtual Trade Mission and Business Dialogue.” Both men were enthusiastic about this first high-level event, linking specific regions, one-to-one, between Russia and the U.S. Other such events, sponsored by the U.S.-Russia Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Commercial Service are projected.
Ambassador Sullivan—a senior career diplomat, highly respected in the Russian Foreign Ministry—began by discussing the need for the two countries to catalyze a global recovery from the COVID pandemic by working together. He characterized as “a new strategy,” under his direction at the U.S. embassy, to separate business issues from political issues which are sources of conflict in their respective capitals. He reported on 1) a recent meeting he attended with Russia’s Minister of Trade and the heads of 15 U.S. companies, 2) a plan to bring a group of Russian companies involved in space science to Houston next year, and 3) the hope to organize many other, new, region-to-region Russian-American programs soon.
Ambassador Antonov, speaking in English, said that it is not the pandemic that is limiting us, but a swamp of bureaucracy and obstruction in the political realm. Ambassador Antonov was both hopeful and blunt. He cited the baseless U.S. sanctions and tariffs as barriers which need to be removed, offering to Ambassador Sullivan the opportunity to further discuss such topics as the situation in Ukraine and Donbas area, and other excuses which are falsely used by the U.S. to bring pressure on third countries, as with the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline case. He proposed that many more region-to-region and city-to-city programs be established, concluding by saying: “I am an optimist: life will get back to normal after the pandemic.” He called for a great expansion of areas of Russia/U.S. discussion.
The rest of the webinar heard reports from CEOs of major Russian companies and universities, and from the Texas governor’s office.