Ivanov appeared to convey essentially that same message to U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright during a meeting in New York yesterday. Ivanov reportedly told Albright that Russian diplomacy will remain steady despite the change of government in Moscow. He also said that “relations with the United States are viewed by Russia in a special light and are one of the priorities in our foreign policy.” He described Albright as a “very credible political figure” in Russia and said that he looked forward to working with her “in the same constructive spirit that was characteristic of her discussions with my predecessor” (AP, September 21).
Although Russia and the United States have clashed on a number of important issues, Albright maintained a good working relationship with former Foreign Minister–and now Prime Minister–Yevgeny Primakov. Her meeting with Ivanov at the UN General Assembly marked the first time that the two have met since Ivanov was named to his new post. The two diplomats did get to know each other previously, however, during Ivanov’s tenure as Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister under Primakov. Albright declined comment yesterday on Moscow’s latest economic moves, saying she would prefer to wait until Russia has formed its new government.