Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said the ball is in Donald Trump's court when it comes to improving US-Russia ties after January 2017. His statement came shortly after outgoing American President Barack Obama advised his successor to stand up to Moscow. Lavrov hopes that "common sense will prevail" when it comes to dealing with geopolitical matters.
The top Russian diplomat met his US counterpart John Kerry on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in Lima, Peru, when the duo discussed the current situation in Syria as well. While the American diplomat called the talks "constructive", the Russian minister said it was "productive". This was also the first face-to-face meeting between the pair since Trump won the US presidential elections.
Speaking on US-Russia ties and the change of leadership in Washington, Lavrov said in a Rossiya-24 TV broadcast: "He [Obama] advised Trump to distinguish electoral fever from real practical work. I have a feeling that Obama himself is on the emotional side of the situation, and thinks less and less about how to solve real problems.
"I understand that his term is running out but still expect that the common sense will prevail. On numerous occasions President Obama demonstrated his ability to take a cold-minded approach to this or that situation. I hope that he would transfer this part of his heritage to the new administration." Lavrov said US-Russia relations, which are "at their lowest", should not be allowed to continue in the negative trajectory.
The Russian minister then went on to say: "Concerning the relations between us and the United States after January 20, the ball is on the side of Donald Trump."
Lavrov was responding to Obama's farewell message in which he advised the incoming American leader on how to deal with Moscow. While speaking in Berlin alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Obama urged the US president-elect to "stand up" in case Moscow violates "international norms" shedding the "realpolitik approach".
Cautioning against Obama's remarks, Lavrov continued: "I have a feeling that Obama himself is on the emotional side of the situation, and think less and less about how to solve real problems."