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Ambassador Antonov Denies Knowledge of US Plan for Improvement of Relations

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Moscow has not received a reported "three-stage plan" from Washington to normalize relations, new Russian ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov said in an interview with Russia's Kommersant newspaper published on Wednesday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Some media outlets earlier disseminated reports about the existence of a three-stage "plan of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson" for building relations with Russia.

"We have not received from Washington a 'three-step plan' aimed at normalizing relations," Antonov said.

Antonov stressed that diplomats "do not work with leaks and speculations, but with official information coming from the other side, whether verbally during meetings and negotiations, or in the format of various documents."

The Russian diplomat reiterated that in March Moscow handed over a document to the US side  with its own ideas on possible steps to improve the atmosphere of relations… focusing on those areas where Russia-US interests clearly overlap and "we can expedite the achievement of practical results."

However, Russia is interested in a constructive interaction with the United States in all spheres of the bilateral and international agenda, Anatoly Antonov said.

"I am going to Washington with a working spirit. The main task of the ambassador is to ensure and protect the interests of his country. Unfortunately, the Russia-US relations have seriously deteriorated because over the past few years due to the actions of the previous US administration, which purposefully destroyed the long-standing foundation for cooperation. As President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly said, this is not our choice. We have always been interested in constructive interaction with Washington on the entire bilateral and international agenda," Antonov said.

Antonov will take up his duties in September.