Blinken and Lavrov hold first high-level talks between US and Russia of Biden’s administration

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov both stressed their two countries have differences but should work together on some issues, as they began talks in Iceland on Wednesday night.

In opening remarks in front of reporters, Blinken said it was ‘no secret that we have our differences’ and that Washington would respond to aggressive acts by Russia, but that the world would be safer if the two countries’ leaders worked together.

Lavrov said Russia and the United States have ‘serious differences’ but have to cooperate ‘in spheres where our interests collide.’

Ties have been fraught since March when U.S. President Joe Biden – not long into his presidency – said he regarded President Vladimir Putin as a ‘killer’, prompting Moscow to recall its U.S. ambassador for consultations. The envoy still has not returned. 

Both DC and Moscow have imposed sanctions in the wake of cyber attacks and aggression in Ukraine.  

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov both stressed their two countries have differences but should work together on some issues, as they began talks in Iceland on Wednesday night

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov both stressed their two countries have differences but should work together on some issues, as they began talks in Iceland on Wednesday night

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov both stressed their two countries have differences but should work together on some issues, as they began talks in Iceland on Wednesday night

In opening remarks in front of reporters, Blinken said it was 'no secret that we have our differences' and that Washington would respond to aggressive acts by Russia, but that the world would be safer if the two countries' leaders worked together

In opening remarks in front of reporters, Blinken said it was 'no secret that we have our differences' and that Washington would respond to aggressive acts by Russia, but that the world would be safer if the two countries' leaders worked together

In opening remarks in front of reporters, Blinken said it was ‘no secret that we have our differences’ and that Washington would respond to aggressive acts by Russia, but that the world would be safer if the two countries’ leaders worked together

The pair bumped elbows ahead of their talks in Iceland.  Lavrov said Russia and the United States have 'serious differences' but have to cooperate 'in spheres where our interests collide.'

The pair bumped elbows ahead of their talks in Iceland.  Lavrov said Russia and the United States have 'serious differences' but have to cooperate 'in spheres where our interests collide.'

The pair bumped elbows ahead of their talks in Iceland.  Lavrov said Russia and the United States have ‘serious differences’ but have to cooperate ‘in spheres where our interests collide.’

Half an hour into Wednesday’s meeting, the U.S. imposed sanctions on some ships and entities involved in construction of the $11 billion Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would take Russian gas from the Arctic to Germany, a deal Biden has opposed. 

The administration decided, however, to waive sanctions on the company behind the pipeline and its chief executive. 

The meeting marked the first high-level, in-person talks between the Biden administration and a Russian counterpart, ahead of a possible presidential summit in June in an attempt to improve the dire relations between the former Cold War foes.

Russia was ready to sort out issues left over from the previous U.S. administration, Lavrov added, referring to Donald Trump’s presidency.

Blinken said Biden wanted ‘a predictable, stable relationship with Russia’ and said the two countries could work together on tackling the coronavirus pandemic, combating climate change, dealing with Iran and North Korea’s nuclear programs, and the conflict in Afghanistan.

‘We think that’s good for our people, good for the Russian people and indeed good for the world,’ Blinken said.

The meeting marked the first high-level, in-person talks between the Biden administration and a Russian counterpart, ahead of a possible presidential summit in June in an attempt to improve the dire relations between the former Cold War foes

The meeting marked the first high-level, in-person talks between the Biden administration and a Russian counterpart, ahead of a possible presidential summit in June in an attempt to improve the dire relations between the former Cold War foes

The meeting marked the first high-level, in-person talks between the Biden administration and a Russian counterpart, ahead of a possible presidential summit in June in an attempt to improve the dire relations between the former Cold War foes

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