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Russia, US have common interests – Putin

RUSSIA and the United States have common interests, such as the preservation of strategic stability, the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and other threats of our time, says President Vladimir Putin.

Welcoming US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to his Bocharov Ruchei residence in Sochi on Tuesday, President Putin said Russia was keen to restore relations with America on a full scale.

“…a couple of days ago, I had the pleasure of talking with the President of the United States [Donald Trump] by telephone. I got the impression that the President is in favour of restoring Russia-US ties and contacts and resolving issues of mutual interest,” President Putin said in a statement issued by the Kremlin.

“For our part, we have said many times that we would also like to restore relations on a full scale. I hope that the necessary conditions for this are being created now since, despite the exotic character of Mr [Robert] Mueller’s work, he should be given credit for conducting what is generally an objective inquiry. He reaffirmed the lack of any trace or collusion between Russia and the current administration, which we described as sheer nonsense from the very start.”

He said there was no Russian interference during the 2016 US elections.

“Nevertheless, regrettably, these allegations have served as a reason for the deterioration of our interstate ties,” President Putin said.

“I hope the situation is changing today; we have common interests, such as the preservation of strategic stability, the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the settlement of regional crises, the struggle against organised crime, efforts to resolve environmental issues, counter global poverty and other threats of our time, plus there are also economic issues.”

The Russian President noted that although trade had always been low and had moved towards zero in the past few years, last year it recorded some increase.

“We know that the United States is becoming and has already become a major oil producer, and in this sense we have something to discuss in order to ensure stability in the global energy markets. There are also other possibilities for economic cooperation. I hope all this will be open to discussion,” said President Putin.

And Pompeo said while there were areas where the two countries disagree, there were places of overlapping interests that both could build on.

“We’ll protect our nations’ interests, but there are places that our two countries can find where we can be cooperative, we can be productive, we can be accumulative, we can work together to make each of our two peoples more successful, and frankly, the world more successful, too,” Pompeo said.

He added that President Trump asked him to travel to Sochi to communicate those areas of mutual interest.

“But some of our cooperation has been excellent. On North Korea. On Afghanistan, we’ve done good work, counter-terrorism work together. These are things we can build upon,” said Pompeo.

He said he hoped to talk about both countries’ strategic security dialogue and to work alongside President Putin on that “very globally important project”.

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