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Moscow says ready to resume US-Russia presidential commission's work

Russia is ready to resume the work of the US-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission, a body aimed at strengthening ties, the country's new trade representative in the United States said in an interview with ITAR-TASS on Tuesday.

"We are ready to resume the work of the ?ommission at any moment," said Alexander Stadnik, who was appointed as Russia's trade representative in the US in July. He is heading to Washington next week to fulfill his duties.

The Russian-US trade and economic relations are unlikely to return to the previous level until the sides resume cooperation at the intergovernmental level, which has been frozen by Washington, Stadnik said.

"The return of the situation in the sphere of trade and economic relations of the two countries to previous relations will depend on the political dialogue," he said, adding that bilateral trade will largely depend on the work of the commission, which encompasses most areas of bilateral cooperation.

"We should search for the ways to reach agreements which will be fulfilled in the future and lay the foundation for future projects and relations," Stadnik said. "We would like this work to resume as soon as possible. I'm sure that our American counterparts think the same way," he added.

US-Russian cooperation suspended

In March, Washington temporarily suspended several projects planned under the auspices of the US-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission, as well as some cooperative law enforcement activities. The activity of around 20 working groups aimed at improving cooperation in various areas was frozen.

The Russian Foreign Ministry's official spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said the US move was intended at "punishing" Moscow for supporting the wish of Crimean citizens to reunify with Russia and leave Ukraine.

The US-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission, created in July 2009 at the initiative of US President Barack Obama and former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, is dedicated to identifying areas of cooperation and pursuing joint projects and actions that strengthen strategic stability, international security, economic well-being, and the development of ties between the Russian and American people.

The Russian-US relations deteriorated with the escalation of the Ukrainian crisis, as Washington, joined by the EU and other countries, imposed economic sanctions on Moscow over its stance on the Ukrainian crisis.

[Source: Itar Tass, Moscow, 16Sep14]

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