MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russia welcomes the contacts between Venezuela's government and opposition that began in Oslo, this is a step in the right direction, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.
"Information has leaked about their contacts on Norwegian territory. We welcome this. We believe that this is a step in the right direction. We do not interfere in this confidential dialogue, we hope Venezuelans themselves will show wisdom and care for their country", Lavrov in an interview with RBC.
Lavrov also said that Moscow hasn't ended contact with Venezuela's opposition.
"As for your question about working with the opposition, we are not quitting this work. As I said, in Venezuela we responded several times to requests for contact. These contacts took place", Lavrov said in an interview with RBC.
Venezuela entered a turbulent political crisis after Guaido proclaimed himself interim president in January. Several countries, including the United States, have endorsed him as Venezuela's leader and urged Maduro to step down. Maduro, in turn, has accused the United States of attempting to orchestrate a coup in the country and bring Guaido to power. Russia, China, Turkey, and several other countries have continued to recognize constitutionally-elected Maduro as the legitimate Venezuelan leader.
Russia Ready to Discuss Disarmament, Nuclear Arms Reduction Treaties With US
Russia wants dialogue with the United States on international agreements on disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation, and Washington's deployment of missile defence systems, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, adding that Moscow was ready to respond to Washington's call for resuming talks on these issues.
"We have a lot of issues that can turn into useful directions for joint work. First of all, this is the strategic stability field, where problems accumulated as a result of the rapid development of the US global missile defense… [The strategic stability was also affected by] the US decision to kill the INF [Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces] treaty. We also have issues related to the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty [New START], which expires in February 2021", Lavrov said in an interview with Russia's RBC media outlet.
Lavrov added that Russia was also concerned over the US decision not to ratify the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, which the United States signed but never ratified.
In February, the United States formally suspended its obligations under the INF Treaty and triggered the six-month withdrawal process. Washington said it would terminate this procedure if Russia agreed to be compliant with the pact. Moscow responded by likewise suspending its participation in the treaty.
Russia Received No Specific Proposals From US on Putin-Trump Meeting
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also said that Moscow has not received any specific proposals from Washington on a possible meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart, Donald Trump, on the sidelines of the upcoming G20 summit in the Japanese city of Osaka.
"We have not received any specific proposals so far. However, time is running out. I think, if such an interest from the United States is officially confirmed, we will respond to it", the minister stated in an interview with Russia's RBC media outlet.
The G20 summit in Osaka is scheduled to take place from 28-29 June.
During their talks in the Russian city of Sochi in May, Putin and US State Secretary Mike Pompeo touched upon a possible high-level Russian-US meeting on the sidelines of the upcoming G20 summit. However, Russia has not yet received any official proposals from Washington.
Putin and Trump have met three times. The first meeting took place in June 2017 on the sidelines of the G20 summit in the German city of Hamburg. The second meeting happened four months later — in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang. In summer 2018, Putin and Trump met for a third time during their summit in Helsinki, Finland.
Moscow Seeks to See How Kiev’s Pledges Materialize Into Certain Suggestions
It is important that Moscow understands how the pledges of the new Ukrainian leadership regarding new policies and approaches will materialize into specific suggestions, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, speaking about the prospects for a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
"We do not even know yet what the new Ukrainian leadership’s policy will be in relation to the Minsk agreements [on the Ukrainian crisis settlement] and Russia as a whole. We can hear rather dubious signals from there … I will say it once again. It is important for us to understand how these pledges about new approaches and ideas are embodied into specific suggestions", Lavrov said in an interview with the Russian RBC broadcaster when asked about the prospects of a meeting between Putin and Zelenskyy.
Zelenskyy, who was sworn in last May, has repeatedly hinted his administration would adopt new policies and approaches in various areas, including relations with Moscow. His administration, in particular, has not ruled out possible telephone conversations between Zelenskyy and Putin.