“We know some of these people. On the one hand, it makes it possible to begin talks without a long break, without a sluggish start, if the US side is willing to respond to our numerous proposals on the Russian-US agenda that are still on the table,” he told a news conference, commenting on reports about Biden’s plans to appoint Antony Blinken as secretary of state and Victoria Nuland as assistant secretary, TASS news agency reported.
The Russian top diplomat noted that appointments in Biden’s team may mean that Washington’s drive toward dominance will be continued. "Obviously, containing China and Russia will remain on the foreign policy agenda. It [Washington] is already thinking about what can be done not to let Russia and China consolidate in a way they could feel stronger than America," he explained.
He did not rule out that the new US administration may act more politely in its relations with Russia but its very policy is unlikely to be changed.
"Americans will have to accept agreements in the areas where it is in their interests, where they understand they cannot do without us and without China," Lavrov said, adding that among such areas are combating infections, climate change and counteracting terrorism and organized crime. As for Russia, in his words, the top priority area of cooperation with the United States is arms control.
‘No grounds for criminal case’
Meanwhile, Lavrov said Russia did not find any traces of chemical warfare agents in tests of the opposition figure Alexey Navalny and there are no grounds to launch criminal proceedings.
"Since we did not find anything in Navalny’s tests to show poisoning with warfare agents, we have no grounds to open a criminal case in accordance with our legislation no matter what others say about the contrary," the minister stressed.
He underscored that the Western countries refused to trigger existing legal mechanisms in this situation as Moscow proposed.
"I don’t see how anything can be done until we receive the requested materials or until the experiment that we proposed is conducted. They seem to have chickened out. If they did, then their conscience is not clear," Lavrov stressed.
Proposal to OPCW
The top Russian diplomat recalled that Navalny’s tests conducted by both the Omsk hospital and Berlin’s Charite did not show traces of chemical warfare agents. However, the Bundeswehr laboratory stepped in later. "If there is an incident that raises suspicions somewhere, the case could have been long settled in the following way. The Germans say that it is a multilateral issue, go straight to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). We suggested to this organization and its director general to trigger the Chemical Weapons Convention article that outlines providing technical help to its signatory by the Technical Secretariat of this organization. ‘Please, come to Russia,’ we said," Lavrov noted.
He underscored that Moscow’s proposal was to jointly study Navalny’s test samples taken in Russia and Berlin in a Russian laboratory certified by the OPCW.