Igor Morozov: "Russia returned to geopolitical arena as a great power"
Yesterday, Russian President had two high-level talks with leaders of key Western countries. First, Vladimir Putin held two rounds of personal talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Sochi, where they have once again voiced their positions on key issues of bilateral and international agenda In the evening, US President Donald Trump called Putin, and they have formally agreed to meet on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg. Member of the Federation Council Committee on International Affairs, Igor Morozov, discussed the results of these talks in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza.
- First of all, Igor Nikolayevich, what points in relations between Russia and the West were clarified yesterday during the meeting between Putin and Merkel?
- In my opinion, Russian President held very constructive negotiations, which once again outlined the positions of all sides on key geopolitical issues: Syria, fight against international terrorism, Ukraine, and, of course, bilateral trade and economic cooperation. As for Ukraine, this meeting has once again demonstrated that Merkel still considers the Minsk agreements an important part of her legacy and wants to use them at the elections in September of this year, expecting positive result. It means that she continues to defend Poroshenko's position. At the same time, as I understand, she refuses to consider the events that led to the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovich as a coup. This is the main problem, as well as the starting point of all decisions, including the Minsk agreements, made the Chancellor. I think there won't be any big changes in her position.
- What was Moscow's main message to Angela Merkel?
- Angela Merkel would like to see certain steps from Putin, but our line is very clear and understandable. We said more than once to Hollande and Merkel: direct negotiations between Poroshenko, DPR and LPR, which implies carrying political reform in the country and providing special status to these territories. German Chancellor understands that it's Putin's position on the Minsk agreements and that he will stand his ground. On the one hand, we can't believe Kiev, on the other - we can't fully trust foreign ministers from Germany and France due to Yanukovich's fate. That's why Vladimir Putin has this position. As for Syria and the fight against international terrorism, the positions of each side were also clarified. We have few points of contact here, except for one thing: the fight against international terrorism must be supported by all countries, since it's a new challenge to the international community and a threat to the security of all citizens, regardless of where they live.
- What issues were raised both during the talks with Merkel and Trump?
- I believe that the same issues were raised during the talks with Trump, but in a broader aspect. Presidents have discussed security in South Asia, North Korea's nuclear weapons tests. I think Trump spoke our position on Syrian President Bashar Assad because Secretary of State Rex Tillerson expressed the US intention to resolve this problem regardless of Russia's position, which is extremely dangerous for peace process. Everyone knows Russia's position - Assad's fate should be decided by the people of Syria at the elections, not by third forces. Non-interference in internal affairs of third countries is Russia's foreign policy position.
- This is the third phone conversation between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. What can you say about the development of dialogue between Russia and the US at the highest level?
- The fact that Trump and Putin, two leaders of geopolitics, discuss something, discuss issues of international agenda, is very positive in itself, since it means that they understand: the entire world depends on their decisions and agreements. It's perfectly clear to Russia that we have once again entered geopolitical arena as a great power after huge decrease in influence in the 1990s and a very difficult situation in the 2000s. Today, no geopolitical problem can be resolved without Russia or without Putin.