Finnish president meets Russian deputy FM as U.S.-Russian dialogue continues

HELSINKI, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) -- Finnish President Sauli Niinisto on Tuesday met Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov. The meeting took place on the second day of the U.S.-Russian dialogue in Helsinki. Niinisto had met U.S. undersecretary of state Thomas Shannon on Monday.

Commenting on his meeting with Niinisto, Ryabkov said the Finnish president "demonstrated keen interest to the state of the Russian-U.S. relations, strategic stability dialogue and voiced a number of ideas based on what he sees", Russian news agency TASS reported.

The Russian diplomat said the fact that leaders of this level show interest in the dialogue indicates that something concerning the Russian-U.S. relations is unhealthy, Tass news agency reported. Ryabkov noted that it is a reminder that serious efforts should be taken to "look for remedies to get rid of this fever we have been in for months".

Sinikukka Saari, a researcher at the Finnish Foreign Ministry told national broadcaster Yle that the frequent meetings at the level of diplomats tell about the bad situation in U.S.-Russian relations. The meeting in Helsinki is the second between Ryabkov and Shannon within a short time.

Mark N. Katz, a senior researcher at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, told Yle that a kind of "invisibility" is an advantage in meetings in Finland. "This is a small country and leaks to the media or to third sides are rare." Katz said the meeting in Finland did not become international headline.

Ryabkov said he could not say he was completely satisfied with the results of "this rather tense leg of our dialogue with the Americans."

Ryabkov refused to speculate about a possible meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump on the sidelines of the APEC in Vietnam in November. "Actually, we don't work on this issue given the current very difficult circumstances," the Russian diplomat was quoted by TASS as saying.

[ Editor: meng ]


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