Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 16

Ivanov addressed several other issues during his remarks on January 22, including Russian-U.S. ties. The Russian foreign minister tried to put a positive spin on what has in fact been a sharp rise in tensions between the two countries over Iraq, Kosovo and Iran. Ivanov admitted that these were “irritants” in Russian-U.S. relations, but also characterized them as a “temporary factor, which can be done away with if both sides want to [do so].” He described Russian-U.S. relations as “an important stabilizing factor in international life,” and suggested that upcoming talks between the two countries should help them to iron out some of their differences (Russian agencies, January 22). U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright arrived in Moscow last night and began talks with Russian leaders today; Vice President Albert Gore is scheduled to travel to the Russian capital in March.

Ivanov also revisited the subject of NATO’s future–another issue on which Moscow and Washington are likely to continue clashing. The Russian Foreign Minister suggested that Moscow’s cooperation with NATO would depend on the alliance’s enlargement policy. Russia has only reluctantly accepted NATO’s decision to admit Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, and has made it clear that it would object even more strenuously to additional enlargement plans–particularly if they were to include any of the former Soviet republics. Ivanov also criticized a series of U.S. proposals aimed at expanding the NATO mission to meet post-Cold War realities. He made it clear that Moscow would object to any NATO military operations outside of its territory without a UN mandate (Russian agencies, January 22).