Putin letter to Obama focuses on Russia’s stance, not US proposals – diplomat

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Leaning Towards Barack Hussein Obama With Flags Behind Them

(Interfax – Moscow, May 23, 2013) Russian President Vladimir Putin’s message to his US counterpart Barack Obama is not a direct response to the American leader’s letter, but instead contains Russia’s formulation of the aims and points of reference relating to bilateral and international issues.

“I wouldn’t say that this message is a response to Obama’s message in the primary sense of the word, because there’s a permanent dialogue, and we have questions that Russia’s president has outlined in detail, lucidly and clearly in this letter to Obama. They constitute our formulation of the aims and points of reference, and definitely not a reaction to some American proposals,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told Interfax on Thursday (23 May).

According to Ryabkov, “the message is comprehensive, and covers both bilateral and international issues”. “It’s no secret that it contains a component that relates to military-political matters and arms control, including missile defence”, the deputy minister noted.

Asked whether the Russian side is expecting the US to provide a response before the G8 summit to Putin’s message, which was recently handed over, Ryabkov said: “I’m not prepared to speculate on the issue of how our American partners will react, but I shall repeat that the exchange of messages is an element in a dialogue that is constantly ongoing.”

He noted that, of late, the presidents have had several telephone conversations. In addition, high-level contacts, including between representatives of the governments’ national security, defence and foreign affairs departments, “have in recent months become considerably more intensive and barely resemble the contacts of the past”.