No 'clean slate' between the US and Russia - Tillerson

2017-05-14 21:44
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. (Mark Thiessen, AP File)

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. (Mark Thiessen, AP File)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - Relations between the United States and Russia, at their lowest level since the Cold War, will not restart "with a clean slate", Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Sunday.

The former ExxonMobil CEO, who was decorated in 2013 by Russian President Vladimir Putin, had said previously that the relationship between the two nuclear powers had hit its lowest point since the Soviet collapse in 1991.

His Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov - whom Trump hosted at the White House on Wednesday - said the same.

Speaking on NBC on Sunday, Tillerson reiterated that relations had fallen to "an all-time low point since the end of the Cold War, with a very low level of trust".

"It is not healthy for the world," he said. "It's certainly not healthy for us, for the American people, our national security interest and otherwise, for this relationship to remain at this low level."

However, "whether we can improve it or not remains to be seen", he added.

Although Tillerson said he is "committed" to improving relations - which have been especially tense since 2012 thanks to differences over Syria and, later, Russia's invasion of Ukraine - he expressed deep scepticism about the prospects for doing so.

He ruled out relaunching relations with a "clean slate", similar to the attempt at a "reset" by former president Barack Obama and his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, in 2009.

"We're starting with the slate we have," he said, "all the problems that are on that slate. We don't dismiss any of them."

President Donald Trump, who has expressed admiration for Putin, has repeatedly said that Washington should try to improve its relations with Moscow to tackle terrorism and other pressing problems around the world.

"I think terms like having a reset are overused," Tillerson said. "You cannot reset. You cannot erase the past."

Asked about US intelligence reports that Russia meddled in last year's US presidential election campaign, Tillerson said, "I don't think there's any question that the Russians were playing around in our electoral processes."

However, "it's inconclusive as to what, if any, effect it had", he added.

Still, "we have to look at this relationship in its broadest contours," Tillerson said.

"There are many, many important areas which require our attention if we are to bring it back to a relationship that we believe is necessary for the security of the US."

Read more on:    rex tillerson  |  us  |  russia  |  us 2016 elections

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.