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‘Russia’s relations with US far from being normal’

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United Nations, Oct 30 :  Relations between Russia and the US are far from being normal and befitting despite improvement from the previous administration led by Donald Trump, said Vassily Nebenzia, Moscow’s Permanent Representative to the UN.

“In general, I would say, there are things which did move from the previous administration. There are a couple of dialogues that started,” Nebenzia said, adding one of them is on strategic stability, reports Xinhua news agency.

There have been a couple of rounds already and the dialogue has become business-like, not politicised, he said.

“People who are there, they’re professionals. They speak on the same level. Of course, the issues are very complex. But this dialogue has been resumed, and that’s very important,” he said.

Russia values the Biden administration’s reconfirmation of the Gorbachev-Reagan formula that there will be no winners in nuclear war and regards this as a very positive signal, he said.

Another important dialogue is on cybersecurity, said Nebenzia.

Russia offered many times a meaningful dialogue on cybersecurity with the United States before Biden came to office, but the offer was rejected, he said.

“Now, we have restarted, we have the dialogue which we hold. We agreed, as far as I know, with the (U.S.) administration that we will be informing each other on whatever incidents that are concerned to both sides in cyberspace,” he noted.

Nebenzia said he had good personal relations with his U.S. counterpart, Linda Thomas-Greenfield.

“She is a professional. She comes from the State Department. She knows how to address the issues. She understands the language on which we communicate. She is responsive. We had a few opportunities to make sure that we can deal — like Trump used to like to say — we can make deals,” said the Russian ambassador.

The dialogue is developing on certain areas, but issues remain, he said.

On issues such as visas and the functioning of diplomatic representations, primarily embassies, Nebenzia said progress has been slow.

On the visa issue, there is some “piecemeal” progress, but the problem generically is not solved, he said.

“We have dozens of my colleagues who do not have an extension of their visas. They’re sitting here without U.S. visas,” Nebenzia said.

A staff member of the Russian mission to the UN could not even travel back home for his mother’s funeral, he said.

“And he could not go for the funeral, because if he went there, he would never get a visa back. And that’s the reality which we are facing.”

The Russian Ambassador said the situation with regard to visas has improved this year after he personally reached out to Thomas-Greenfield, who said she would be doing all she could to facilitate.

“But we are far from the state of relations, which can be called normal, befitting the two great states,” he said. (IANS)

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