- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Bilateral relations with the U.S. are unlikely to improve anytime soon, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an article published Wednesday.

Russia’s top diplomat, Mr. Lavrov cast doubt on the countries coming to better terms while responding to questions posed by readers of a Moscow-based newspaper.

“Dealing with the heaps of problems that have accumulated in bilateral relations not as a result of our actions will not be easy. Establishing bilateral ties is a mutual process,” said Mr. Lavrov, according to a Russian state media translation.

“Cooperation between us is the key element of ensuring stability and predictability in international affairs. However, not everything depends on us, they say it takes two to dance the tango,” Mr. Lavrov said in response to a question submitted to Argumenty i Fakty, TASS reported.

Spokespeople at the U.S. State Department did not immediately return messages requesting comment.

While the U.S. and Russia have been on the opposite sides of an adversarial relationship for decades, President Trump has publicly discussed mending ties with the former Cold War foe and met repeatedly in privately with his counterpart in the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin.

Nonetheless, Mr. Larvrov said that the U.S. has demonstrated an “inconsistent and sometimes even unpredictable behavior” toward normalizing relations.

“That’s why making any forecasts regarding relations with the U.S. is futile,” he added. “But I repeat — we, on our part, are ready to work patiently to fix them.”

Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin last met face-to-face on the sidelines of the Group of Twenty summit late last month in Osaka, Japan.

“We’ve had great meetings,” Mr. Trump said afterward. “We have had a very, very good relationship. And we look forward to spending some pretty good time together. A lot of very positive things going to come out of the relationship.”

Mr. Putin described the meeting afterward as a “great opportunity” to follow through on discussions the two started during a summit held last July in Helsinki, Finland.

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