Thursday, February 16, 2017

Lavrov and Tillerson to Meet in Germany

Lavrov and Tillerson to Meet in Germany

by Stephen Lendman

On Thursday, they’ll meet and discuss bilateral issues of mutual concern for the first time at the G20 foreign ministers meeting in Bonn - ahead of July’s G20 summit.

According to Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, “Lavrov will hold meetings with Tillerson and (German Foreign Minister Sigmar) Gabriel on the” G20 sidelines.

Topics they’ll discuss are still being considered. Bilateral relations were undermined by Obama. Sacking Michael Flynn reveals little hope for substantive improvement.

On Friday, Lavrov will represent Russia at the Munich security conference. He’ll meet with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at the same time.

Separately, he said he’ll discuss a possible summit meeting between Putin and Trump with Tillerson, likely at a neutral venue.

“This is what diplomacy is about: to try to find common language even on what seems to be next to impossible to reach agreement on,” Lavrov explained. He’s an experienced hand at this, Tillerson transitioning from Big Oil to diplomacy.

The State Department called the meeting “obviously…very important” - Tillerson to seek “ways for pragmatic and constructive cooperation in areas where our interests overlap.”

Ukraine remains a major stumbling block. White House press secretary Sean Spicer said “President Trump has made it very clear that he expects the Russian government to de-escalate violence in the Ukraine and return Crimea.”

“At the same time, he fully expects to and wants to get along with Russia” - making unacceptable demands no way to do it.

“Crimea is part of the Russian Federation,” Zakharova stressed. It won’t be given back. It’s not an issue for negotiation.

Tillerson’s first meeting with Lavrov comes at a time of militantly anti-Russia sentiment by Congress and Western media scoundrels.

Expect little more from their first meeting than beginning a long, arduous process of continued talks on Syria, Ukraine and other issues of mutual concern.

Under Obama, nothing was resolved. Sacking Flynn ended hopes for friendlier bilateral ties. It’s unknown if they’ll remain as frayed, improve too little to matter or worsen. Not a pretty picture.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


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