Head of Russia’s Federation Council International Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev welcomed the US plan to draft a specific plan to iron out relations with Russia. However, in his view, Tillerson’s program could turn out to be a double-edged sword, being both a platform and an obstacle to dialogue.
Media reports earlier said that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had put together a program, which outlines three main areas for establishing constructive working relations with Russia. According to US media, the so-called ‘Tillerson Plan’ contains three items. The first pillar of this framework focuses on efforts to convince Russia to refrain from certain steps that Washington sees as counterproductive for both sides. The second deals with establishing cooperation with Russia on issues that are of strategic interest to the US, while the third one concerns “strategic stability” in relations with Russia.
“So far, we receive information about the so-called Tillerson plan only through media leaks. However, one could assume that there is something specific about that. If this intention takes on the characteristics of a strategy and plan, that’s doubly interesting, because something appears that we can work with,” Kosachev told reporters. He noted though that “Tillerson’s three pillars could be both a platform for dialogue and a barrier to it as well.”
Specifically, the senator honed in on the first pillar, which notes the goal of persuading Moscow to refrain from “aggressive actions against the US.” “I can say with a considerable degree of responsibility that not a single Russian action was specifically directed against the US. Therefore, the problem is not ‘Russia’s aggressive actions,’ but, firstly, the US interpretation of our moves and, secondly, the way the United States interprets its interests,” the senator emphasized.
“The second pillar, dialogue with the Russian side on issues of strategic interest to the United States, including Syria and North Korea along with cyber security, is likewise a matter of interpretation,” Kosachev added. He described the plan’s third pillar, namely, strategic stability with Russia, as a priority. “Russia and the US are the global leaders here, and the situation on disarmament and arms control depends on these two countries to the utmost,” he explained.
The senator recalled that Moscow had attempted to launch a “reset” with the previous US administration on precisely this issue. “And, by the way, there were some results. There are no obstacles to beginning the same dialogue with the Trump administration,” the senator concluded.