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Igor Ivanov

President of the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC), Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (1998–2004)

MOSCOW. Jan 21 (Interfax) - Former Russian foreign minister and former secretary of the Russian Security Council and Russian International Affairs Council President Igor Ivanov said that the "reset" in Russian-American relations has exhausted itself and the two countries should move further.

"Getting back to 'reset,' I think it has fulfilled its mission and exhausted itself," Ivanov said in an interview with Interfax in connection with U.S. President Barack Obama's inauguration.

If Moscow and Washington do want to change the nature of Russian-American relations, "it's time to move on and set more ambitious and more large-scale tasks," he said.

"This meets Russia's and the United States' interests, I am sure," Ivanov said.
On Obama's second term, Ivanov said, " Concerning general approaches, foreign-policy ideology and main priorities, we are not going to see any radical changes."

"The second term of any president in the United States always differs from the first, including in foreign policy. The president keeps thinking all through the first four years about re-election and he has to maneuver along, strike compromises with political opponents and heed public opinion," Ivanov said.

"The second term is the last one. The president's hands are free and he wants to show his best," he said.

"I think Obama's policy will be more active and energetic, and probably tougher. John Kerry, Obama's nominee for Secretary of State, said in clear terms to me recently that the time has arrived for concrete work, not for high-profile statements," he said.

"We wrote recently in a joint article with former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright that, the U.S. and Russia should not necessarily drag out reductions listed in the Treaty until 2018. They could be accomplished earlier, which would send a positive signal. Concurrently, solutions should be sought on missile defense. I am convinced that if political will is there on both sides, a way out can be found from the current impasse," Ivanov said.

The 'leaders' factor is of great importance in bilateral relations, he also said. "If a positive signal for promoting relations arrives from the top, many of the problems which seem hopeless today will be resolved in both countries' interest," Ivanov said.

"Importantly, Russia's and the United States' interests do not always coincide. But there are no deep or insurmountable contradictions between us, which means that the national leaders' political willingness can ensure the attainment of concrete results in a very short time," Ivanov said.

Source: Interfax

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