15:56 GMT +314 October 2019
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    US Marines wave goodbye as they leave the military headquarters in Najaf in central Iraq, 23 September 2003

    Iraq War Derailed US-Russia Rapprochement Following 9/11 - Russian Ex-FM

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    According to the Russian former foreign minister, the US invasion in Iraq derailed Moscow's attempts to improve relations with Washington.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Washington derailed attempts to narrow the gap between the United States and Russia after the 9/11 attacks by invading Iraq, Russia’s former Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov told Sputnik.

    "September 11 opened up a new way [for cooperation]. We were ready to do it, [President Vladimir] Putin was ready to open a new page in relations with NATO and the West as a whole… Unfortunately, the US war in Iraq de facto foiled the efforts to improve US-Russia relations," Ivanov said.

    Ivanov, the president of the Russian International Affairs Council and the country’s foreign minister between 1998 and 2004, said he was frustrated by post-2001 US decisions, specifically the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

    "We worked hard to open a new page in our relationship. Such a unilateral step by Washington in disregard of Russian and even allies’ interests dashed our hopes for a new start," he said.

    According to Ivanov, the Iraq War signaled a rollback of cooperation between the two countries’ security agencies.

    However, Russians showed the highest level of support of US citizens after the tragedy of September 11, 2001, Russia’s then Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov told Sputnik.

    "When I arrived at the US Embassy in Moscow on September 11 to write in the book of condolences I was amazed by a large number of our citizens lining up to lay flowers outside the Embassy as a tribute," Ivanov said.

    "For months afterwards, opinion polls in Russia showed what I think was the highest level of support among Russians of the United States," he said.

    More than 3,000 people died in a series of coordinated terror attacks by al-Qaeda militants on New York City and Washington, DC on September 11, 2001.


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