Diplomats from the two nations held ‘routine’ talks on a number of issues in Istanbul
Moscow and Washington held talks in the Turkish city of Istanbul on Friday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told journalists at the Valdai discussion forum, adding that the meeting was aimed at discussing what he described as “irritants” in bilateral relations.
“Relevant department heads” were involved in the talks, Ryabkov said, without revealing any names though adding that it was a regular meeting. According to the deputy minister, “irritants” refers to issues relating to the functioning of the Russian diplomatic missions in the US and vice versa.
Russia and the US resumed these “technical” diplomatic contacts following a pause, the official said. “This is not a political signal that we are resuming dialogue with the US on major issues,” Ryabkov explained, adding that “it is merely a routine issue.”
A US diplomatic source confirmed to the TASS and RIA Russian news agencies that the talks did take place. The source told the outlets that a “senior State Department official” was in Istanbul to conduct the talks and that a “narrow range of bilateral issues” had been discussed.
The two sides did not discuss the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, RIA added. The US State Department has not provided any official public comments on the meeting.
The news came in the wake of a high-profile prisoner exchange between Russia and the US, which saw women’s basketball star Brittney Griner exchanged for jailed Russian businessman Viktor Bout on Thursday. On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin revealed some details about the deal, adding that talks about the exchange were held between the Russian and American security services, which have “never” severed any contacts and continue to talk to each other.
Earlier, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also warned that the exchange should not be viewed as a sign of improving bilateral relations between Moscow and Washington.
December 10, 2022 at 12:48AM