U.S. Ambassador on the State of Russia-U.S. Relations

The harm done to Russia-US relations in connection with their contradictions about Iraq will soon pass, believes US Ambassador in Moscow Alexander Vershbow.

Appearing on Russia's Pervy Kanal TV channel on Thursday, he said Washington "regretted" the fact that Russia and the USA failed to reach a consensus on the Iraqi problem. He insisted nevertheless that the US took military action "in strict accordance with resolutions of the United Nations Security Council" and that there was "no doubt about the legitimacy" of Washington's steps.

Vershbow admitted that Russia-US relations had lately been "somewhat tense" because of their contradictions about Iraq, but insisted that if the Iraqi issue had been out to the vote in the Security Council and Russia had voted against military force, it would have been "even worse" for Russia-US relations from Washington's point of view.

According to his words, the statements made by the two countries' presidents raised his hopes: both leaders said they wanted bilateral relations to stay the same. In his opinion, this fact shows that Moscow and Washington have common interests in the 21st century and that despite certain differences, they have "just a few issues between them where their interests clash." "So we're going to work more intensively to build such a level of relations that we wanted to build in the past few years," he concluded.