/   ISSN 1607-6389
LATEST_UPDATE_ON Tue, 21 Nov 2017 - 14:24
Russia-U.S. Ties, a Story to Be Told

Relations between the United States and Russia are a blank sheet on which there is a lot to be told with Donald Trump in the White House and clear signs of business as usual in the case of Moscow.

Perhaps because of that, the deputy director of the Institute of Countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States, Vladimir Evseev, warns about the beginning of an unpredictable era in relations with Washington, although he expects an end to the U.S. sanctions.

The Democratic administration of Barack Obama took relations between Washington and Moscow to the bottom, even worse than during the Cold War, as steps that seemed a revenge for the defeat in November's presidential election were taken.

Therefore, the Kremlin expects that relations should not get worse, at least, with Trump, but there is nothing clear about how much they can improve.

Although the multimillionaire who became the U.S. head of State implied during his campaign that Russia was a country to befriend instead of having it as an enemy, he does not seem to be in a rush to change the restrictions imposed by the previous administration.

The new U.S. ambassador at the United Nations, Nikki Haley, gave the first surprise, thus further resembling the much-hated Samantha Powell, when she made it clear that the unilateral sanctions against Russia will remain in place.

As long as Russia maintains its sovereignty over the peninsula of Crimea, where the majority of the population voted for the region's separation from Ukraine in a referendum, we will continue with the restrictions, Haley said.

The White House made it clear that the U.S. National Security Council had approved the ambassador's statements.

However, Trump shows some rays of hope, because his recent telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin was cordial and full of promises of cooperation and agreements in matters like the fight against international terrorism.

Nevertheless, the U.S. president also cast doubts on Moscow about the issue when he described Iran as the world's major sponsor of terrorism.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made it clear that Tehran is not linked to the terrorist movement known as the Islamic State or to the Al Nusra Front; on the contrary, it collaborates in the fight against those groups.

Iran, along with Turkey and Russia, is part of the trio of guarantors of a ceasefire in Syria and of a triumvirate that is announcing its cooperation to fight the terrorists in that country.

Few dare to make concrete predictions beyond the collaboration against terrorism that might exist between Moscow and Washington, while Trump's stance on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is still in suspense.

The United States, along with other NATO members, continues to deploy troops and combat means in nations bordering Russia.

Nonetheless, it is worth recalling that since 2014, under a wide range of pretexts, the United State has imposed restrictive measures against Russia on 35 occasions.

The U.S. black lists include 172 Russian personalities and 350 legal entities, including those in the energy sector, the industrial-military complex and the financial sector, according to Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zajarova.

Nothing has been written about Trump, who promised to review the case of Crimea and has called on Russia again to respect Ukraine's territorial integrity, while he threatened to have a firm hand with China, which he recognizes now as a crucial partner.

Time is needed to decipher the real content of the White House's plans on the Kremlin, but it is limited in a period of tension in the international arena, while Moscow expects Washington to show its willingness to collaborate.

Only the fight against terrorism is on the common agenda of the United States and Russia, and Syria is there to prove it. Moscow took a concrete and visible step in that direction; it is Washington's turn now. / Prensa Latina

*Prensa Latina Chief Correspondent in Russia.

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