Yuri Rogulyov: "Security to be major issue in Russian-US relations"
Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump held their first official phone conversation on Saturday, during which they discussed anti-terror efforts, the situation in the Middle East and the Arab-Israeli conflict, the sphere of strategic stability and non-proliferation, the Iranian nuclear program, the situation on the Korean peninsula, as well as the situation in eastern Ukraine, and agreed to cooperate in all these areas. The Presidents called for establishing a real coordination of US and Russian actions to defeat ISIS and other terrorist groups in Syria and also emphasized the importance of restoring mutually-beneficial trade and economic ties. Donald Trump asked to convey the wishes of happiness and prosperity to the Russian people, noting that the American people hold Russia and its citizens in sympathetic regard. Putin, for his part, emphasized that in Russia there are analogous feelings toward Americans. "The conversation took place in a positive and businesslike manner," the Kremlin website emphasizes. The director of the Roosevelt Fund of Study of the US at Moscow State University, Yuri Rogulyov, told Vestnik Kavkaza about the developing of relations between Moscow and Washington.
- How were the expectations of the parties for the first talks between Putin and Trump satisfied?
- I think that the talks met the expectations, because it was not just a business talk, but it was held in a friendly atmosphere. Both sides expressed their sympathy and wishes for prosperity to the peoples of both countries. I think it is a very important point, because it opens up a broader opportunities for holding consultations and negotiations on a number of fields. Very much in the Russian-US relations depends on such an atmosphere and the leadership's position. It is a very positive start.
-How we should interpret Trump's statement on the American people's sympathy toward the Russians and Putin's words about analogous feelings of Russians toward the US?
- It is an indicator of an attitude, desire to improve relations. The President is the leader, who determines the main objectives and ways to achieve the goals, so if the leader sets such a goal, it turns the policy into the right direction. If the leader is aimed at confrontation or influencing, it creates a much less favorable, or even a negative background, against which it is impossible to achieve agreements. Syria is an example in this sense. The diplomats have negotiated on Syria for a very long time, they almost agreed, but nothing's been solved. It is the result of such a negative attitude.
- What are the main future directions of cooperation between Russia and the US?
- Based on the objectives set by Trump, his main objective is the fight against terrorism, ISIS, the danger linked to it. He intends to cooperate with Russia in this field. Therefore, the issue of security will be major in the relations between Russia and the US, which can include Syria and other hot spots, including North Korea and other issues.
He has also demonstrated a desire to improve trade and economic relations. But this issue is more complicated and long-term. They will not start solving it now, it will take time. With regard to other aspects, the agenda must be determined, and this agenda should include a plan of negotiations or preparation of documents, depending on the prospects for a meeting.
- Why did they avoid the issue of sanctions during the course of conversation?
- I think that the sanctions is not an issue on which Trump will be focused from the very beginning. It is not beneficial for him from any point of view. Trump is a businessman, so he will use this sanctions to agree on some compromises with Russia. In this sense, the term "deal", which he usually applies to international negotiations, will be appropriate. Trump will proceed from the fact that he could lift the sanctions, but he will not do it as a gift and unilaterally.