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Lavrov Says Summit Will Be Success If Communications Reopened

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (file photo)

Russia's foreign minister has said the July 16 summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin could be considered successful if it leads to a reopening of communications channels between the two countries.

In an interview with RT television on July 14, Sergei Lavrov said "the ideal outcome would be to agree to engage all the channels on all divisive issues…and also on those issues where we can already usefully cooperate."

He said bilateral relations presently amount to little more than "sporadic meetings between diplomats and the military, primarily on" the civil war in Syria.

Lavrov also said Russia is "ready to answer any questions" regarding the alleged involvement of Russian military intelligence officers in the hacking of Democratic Party computers during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign.

His comments came one day after a U.S. grand jury indicted 12 officers of the Main Intelligence Directorate, or GRU, of the Russian General Staff.

Lavrov also said Russia supports initiatives by the United States and South Korea to engage North Korea. He said those who criticized Trump's June summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un should understand that issues such as the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula "cannot be done overnight."

And he criticized NATO expansion for "swallowing countries" near Russia's borders.

"Today we have common threats, common enemies," Lavrov said. "Terrorism, climate change, organized crime, drug trafficking. None of this is being effectively addressed by NATO expansion."

On July 12, a NATO summit endorsed a joint statement that accused Moscow of "challenging Euro-Atlantic security and stability through hybrid actions, including attempted interference in the election processes...widespread disinformation campaigns, and malicious cyber activities."

Asked to comment on the NATO statement, Lavrov said "there is nothing new."

"We have been hearing this for quite a number of years, so we take it as inertia from Cold War thinking," he added.

With reporting by RT, Interfax, Reuters
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