"Russia and US should discuss their future"
Chairman of Russia’s Federation Council Foreign Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev held a meeting with visiting US Senator Rand Paul in Moscow today. The sides discussed bilateral relations during the meeting.
The US delegation also includes a member of the Senate of the legislative Assembly of the state of Texas Peter Hettler and Texas Sen. Don Huffines.
Members of Russia’s Federation CouncilForeign Affairs Committee and Rand Paul have discussed the possibility of a meeting at the level of the committees of the Federation Council and US Senate by the end of this year.
"Since Mr. Paul is a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, we paid special attention to contacts between the relevant committees and agreed on some specific aspects of developing this cooperation," Kosachev said, adding that "of course, Mr. Paul is yet to discuss these ideas with his colleagues after returning to Washington."
"However, the issue at hand is trying, perhaps, to organize a new meeting, this time at the level of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and the Federation Council’s Foreign Affairs Committee during the autumn session, that is, before the end of this year," Kosachev noted.
"Whether it can be organized prior to the November elections to the US Congress or after that election campaign, we will discuss that additionally," he added.
For his part, the US senator invited members of the Federation Council’s Foreign Affairs Committee to visit Washington to develop inter-parliamentary dialogue.
During the meeting in Russia’s Federation Council, the parties also discussed the possible agenda for these talks. Kosachev noted that the two countries’ parliamentarians could possibly meet several times. "The issue at hand is helping to revive the Russian-American dialogue on strategic stability issues, arms control and disarmament, first and foremost," he stressed.
Besides, the two countries’ lawmakers could discuss ways of "reviving a working dialogue between the relevant ministries and government agencies on combating terrorism and security in cyberspace," along with trade and economic cooperation amid sanctions. "The preliminary agenda is clear, while the schedule of our meetings is yet to be discussed. It can likewise be specified in the immediate future," Kosachev stated.
He once again refuted allegations about the so-called Russian meddling in the US elections, both the 2016 presidential election and the current election campaign ahead of the midterm elections to the Congress.
Kosachev recalled that Moscow had suggested discussing this issue at the expert level more than once, but there was no response from Washington. "It is more advantageous for those who keep this version afloat to work in a unilateral manner, in the form of a monologue," he emphasized.
He later told reporters that Rand Paul is pretty close to US President Donald Trump and recalled that Paul was one of the two senators who did not support the law on tougher sanctions against Russia a year ago.
Head of Russia’s State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee Leonid Slutsky has asked at a meeting with Rand Paul for his assistance in resolving the situation with Russian national Maria Butina arrested in the US.
"We ask you to help in the situation with Butina who was arrested on trumped-up charges for no good reason. She is facing grave accusations, she has been placed into custody,’ TASS cited Slutsky as saying.
"We are grateful for your unchanged rhetoric in favor of dialogue with Russia. Today she [Butina] is accused of failing to register as a foreign agent, but her activities in an American NGO did not imply such a mandatory registration," he added.
The head of Russia’s State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee assured the US senator that Russia is ready to provide all data concerning this case. "If you raise your voice in Butina’s defense, in favor of at least changing her pre-trial restriction, that is, release from custody and an opportunity to return to her home country, you will show yourself as a person with a big heart," Slutsky said.