Europe

Russia's Lavrov says time for a 'reset 2.0' in US ties

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Media captionMr Lavrov attacked US foreign policy in a speech to the UN

The foreign minister of Russia has said it is time for a "reset 2.0" in ties with the US, while blaming the Obama administration for their poor state.

Sergei Lavrov, who was minister during the 2010 "reset" of relations, said the current US administration had "wrecked much of the co-operation structures".

"It is absolutely in our interests to normalise relations but we didn't wreck them," he told a Russian TV channel.

The US led sanctions against Russia this year over its actions in Ukraine.

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March and has since been accused of fuelling the bloody insurrection in its eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, a charge it denies.

It has also differed sharply with the US and its Western allies over the conflict in Syria.

Reset 'likely'

In June 2010, US President Barack Obama cemented the original "reset" at a summit when the then Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, visited the White House.

That initiative came after years of poor relations, notably after Russia's summer war with Georgia, an aspiring Nato member, in 2008, when George W Bush was president.

"Now there's a need for what the Americans might call a 'reset'," Mr Lavrov told Russia's Channel Five (in Russian).

"The current US administration is today wrecking much of the co-operation structures that it created itself along with us. Most likely, something more will come up - a reset No 2 or a reset 2.0."

Mr Lavrov said the situation was improving on the ground in Ukraine, where a shaky ceasefire has been in place for several weeks.

Nato reported this week that there had been a significant withdrawal of Russian conventional troops from inside eastern Ukraine, although many thousands remained just over the border.

Moscow has never acknowledged the presence of any Russian troops in Ukraine.

Addressing the UN General Assembly, President Obama accused Russia of pouring arms into the region but he also praised the recent ceasefire agreement between the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian rebels.

He promised to lift sanctions if Moscow worked through diplomatic means to secure a lasting peace.

US 'interference'

In his own speech to the UN General Assembly on Sunday, Mr Lavrov attacked America's military "interference" in Syria, where the US has been leading air strikes on Islamic State militants.

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Image caption A pair of US Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles fly over northern Iraq after a mission

He also accused Washington and Europe of supporting a "coup d'etat" in Ukraine this year and of being unable to change their Cold War ''genetic code".

Speaking on TV, he said that despite Western sanctions, Russia did not feel isolated on the world stage.

"Having said that, I want to emphasise in particular that we do not want to go to extremes and abandon the European and American directions in our foreign economic co-operation," he added.

"It is important that our partners understand the futility of ultimatums and threats," the Russian foreign minister said.

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