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Russia and US pledge to improve ties
February 4, 2013, 6:42 pm

Sergey Lavrov (l) and Joseph Biden talk on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference. [Getty Images]

Sergey Lavrov (l) and Joseph Biden talk on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference. [Getty Images]

In the first high-level meeting between Russian and US officials since Barack Obama’s Presidential re-election, Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister and Joe Biden, vice-president of the United States agreed to improve ties strained by the crisis in Syria and Moscow’s decision to ban adoption of Russian children by Americans.

A statement from the White House said that during the meeting held on the sidelines of the 49th Munich Security Conference, Biden “emphasised the importance of the two countries working together in the interest of international peace and security, including in Syria.”

Despite their differences, “US and Russian leadership is necessary to achieve practical solutions to the challenges facing the world today,” the statement went on to say.

Following the meeting, Lavrov announced that the US had accepted an invitation for John Kerry, secretary of state to visit Moscow.

“There is an understanding on both sides, that along with differences that need to be addressed to find mutually acceptable solutions, we have very many common interests in the field of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, fight against terrorism, drug trafficking, [and] organised crime,” Lavrov told reporters.

Russia and the US have for months been at loggerheads over the civil war in Syria, with Moscow criticising Washington’s support of rebels trying to overthrow the Damascus government of Bashar al-Assad.

Washington, in the meantime, has been critical of Moscow’s support of Assad and Iran.

“We will take a principled approach to any issue in Russian-US relations that is supposed to be agreed upon, and we will be guided by principles of mutual respect, equitability, and mutual consideration of each other’s interests,” Lavrov said.

Source: Agencies