Bolton 2.0: What does Trump’s adviser bring to Moscow?

Bolton 2.0: What does Trump’s adviser bring to Moscow?

Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev and U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton have started talks in Moscow.

"A meeting between Nikolay Patrushev and John Bolton began in Moscow," Patrushev’s Spokesman Yevgeny Anoshin said.

Bolton began his two-day working program in the Russian capital today. Trump’s adviser earlier tweeted that on October 20 he would be travelling to Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia to meet with his counterparts in order "to advance American interests on a range of security issues."

At the upcoming meeting, the US diplomat is expected to focus on the US plans to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty), a milestone arms control agreement signed between the United States and the Soviet Union in 1987, TASS reported.

Bolton is also scheduled to meet with representatives of the Russian Foreign Ministry and Putin’s foreign policy aide Yuri Ushakov. According to Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s meeting with Bolton is still being prepared. Ushakov said that Bolton had requested a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

The first meeting in the Bolton-Patrushev format was held in Geneva on August 23. The sides agreed to resume Russian-US contacts at the level of defense and foreign policy officials and the General Staff.

The deputy head of the Council of the Russian Diplomats Association, Andrey Baklanov, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, noted in the first place that U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton's visit to Moscow is of observation nature.

"U.S. President Donald Trump is in a rather difficult situation now. First, he cares about the interests of domestic American business and subordinates everything, including foreign policy, to this goal. And second, he leads an international negotiating process from a position of strength, from the position of the American establishment which seeks to ensure the dominance of its interests in the world," the expert said.

At the same time, he pointed out that such a line is unacceptable in relations with Russia. "Therefore, until now, we have failed to establish a normal political dialogue. Perhaps some attempt will be made during this visit to return to such interaction between Russia and the United States," the deputy head of the Council of the Russian Diplomats Association said.

According to him, currently there are a number of issues that require immediate attention from both countries. "In particular, there is a dangerous military situation in the territory of Syria. In addition, there is also a growing need to discuss armaments in general," Andrei Baklanov concluded.

The senior research fellow at the European Research Centre of the International Relations Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Vladimir Olenchenko, suggested that Bolton arrived in Moscow with a proposal to intensify talks. I think that the main message of this visit is that the U.S. is ready to continue negotiations. The question is on what conditions. In my opinion, Trump’s recent statements about the U.S. readiness to withdraw from the INF treaty were at least partially tied to his visit. Frankly speaking, it should be viewed as putting pressure on Russia on the eve of Bolton's visit in order to negotiate a better deal for themselves. Therefore, we can assume that Bolton will talk about it, as well as other aspects of bilateral relations," he said.

As for the position of Moscow, it expresses readiness to engage in a constructive dialogue. "We have repeatedly spoken out for the need to restore a normal dialogue - at least to return to that level of 12 different commissions on various issues. We have previously brought this position to the U.S., therefore, the U.S. should have a clear idea of ​​what Russia wants and how it sees the development of bilateral relations," Vladimir Olenchenko concluded.

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