Excerpts from Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview to Austrian weekly news magazine Profil

February 5, 2017

Question: What do you expect from the Trump administration?
Sergey Lavrov: We took note of Donald Trump’s statements about Russia during the presidential race and after winning the election. What he said about the need to develop a normal dialogue between our countries has given us hope for a positive shift in bilateral relations.
As President of Russia Vladimir Putin has said, we are willing to traverse our part of the road towards improving relations with the United States. It was not through Russia’s fault but due to deliberate actions of the previous Washington administration that our relations have deteriorated in the past few years. For our part, we have always been open to promoting predictable cooperation based on the principles of equality and mutual respect for each other and for each other’s interests.
At the same time, we understand that it will take serious efforts by both parties to make good the serious damage done to our bilateral relations under the Obama administration. It would be premature to talk about the kind of relations we might have with the Republican administration. We need to wait until the officials in the key positions in the new administration settle into their jobs and clarify the US foreign policy priorities. Then we will be able to make long-term conclusions.
We are convinced that when there is a common will, Russia and the United States will not only forge ahead in our bilateral relations, but will also contribute to the effective settlement of the biggest international problems. The coordination of our efforts would have an invaluable impact on the fight against international terrorism.
Moreover, we have not yet tapped the huge potential of mutually beneficial trade, investment, innovation and technological cooperation. It is significant that the majority of US companies have not left the promising Russian market in the past few years, despite the sanctions and pressure exerted by the Obama administration. The Russian market has been and remains very profitable. We are also interested in enhancing our cultural and humanitarian exchanges.
As I said, effective cooperation between Russia and the United States is possible, but only based on mutual respect for each other and each other’s interests.