Lavrov: Financial crisis leading to greater U.S.-Russia cooperation

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov gave an interesting interview to Der Spiegel today. He expresses some optimism about relations between Russia and the United States, attributing the thaw to the need to address the financial crisis: The global financial crisis is forcing all countries to focus on the real problems. It’s actually a simple task….We ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
588459_090217_lavrov5.jpg
588459_090217_lavrov5.jpg

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov gave an interesting interview to Der Spiegel today. He expresses some optimism about relations between Russia and the United States, attributing the thaw to the need to address the financial crisis:

The global financial crisis is forcing all countries to focus on the real problems. It's actually a simple task....We can no longer afford the luxury of little geopolitical games, because we all face challenges that directly affect our citizens. So we should no longer ideologize problems, we should instead honestly express our own national interests, understand the legitimate interests of our partners, and have no more hidden agendas, where one thing is said while something else is done behind someone's back. The signals that we are receiving indicate that our Western partners are aiming for the same objectives.

Lavrov also denies (though not quite explicitly) that Russia put any pressure on Kyrgyzstan to close the Manas air base:

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov gave an interesting interview to Der Spiegel today. He expresses some optimism about relations between Russia and the United States, attributing the thaw to the need to address the financial crisis:

The global financial crisis is forcing all countries to focus on the real problems. It’s actually a simple task….We can no longer afford the luxury of little geopolitical games, because we all face challenges that directly affect our citizens. So we should no longer ideologize problems, we should instead honestly express our own national interests, understand the legitimate interests of our partners, and have no more hidden agendas, where one thing is said while something else is done behind someone’s back. The signals that we are receiving indicate that our Western partners are aiming for the same objectives.

Lavrov also denies (though not quite explicitly) that Russia put any pressure on Kyrgyzstan to close the Manas air base:

Lavrov: This is a decision by the Kyrgyz leadership. There were many incidents that caused dissatisfaction: Once an American soldier shot a Kyrgyz citizen and the police were not allowed to investigate the case; on another occasion, an American ran over pedestrians without legal consequences. In another incident, tons of jet fuel was dropped on Kyrgyz villages, and once again no one was held responsible. The Americans have even damaged the official state aircraft of Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

SPIEGEL: Now Russia has agreed to grant significant loans to Kyrgyzstan — are you saying this is just a coincidence?

Lavrov: We have signed the corresponding agreement. Kyrgyzstan is one of the poorest countries and an ally. We treat an ally the way it should be.

ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP/Getty Images

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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