Russia would be ready to restart conversations with the United States and NATO on security guarantees, but so far Moscow hasn't seen willingness on their part, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov claimed Thursday.
"If our Western interlocutors realize their mistakes and express their readiness to return to the discussion of the documents that we proposed in December, I think that this will be a positive move," Lavrov said during his annual news conference in Moscow, when asked whether it is possible to reach an agreement on the security guarantees proposed by Russia.
"I doubt that they will find the energy and mind to do it," he said. "However, if this suddenly happens, we will be ready to return to the conversation with them."
"But, since they rejected our proposals, they have already taken a number of steps that completely contradict the prospects for resuming the dialogue," he added.
While answering another question at the news conference, Lavrov reiterated that Russia is open to dialogue with Western partners as the security situation in Europe has deteriorated, but said it won't be "business as usual."
"If our Western partners develop an interest in somehow restoring our joint work on European security," Lavrov said, "it won't be business as usual."
"If the West understands that it is better to develop neighborly relations based on mutually agreed foundations, we will listen to what the West would propose," he said. "But it is clear that it needs to be a completely new start. Whether there is a chance of this new start in the near future, I don't know. It is up to the West," he added.
On a possible meeting with US President Joe Biden: Moscow "never avoids contacts," Lavrov claimed, but there haven't been "substantial ideas" when it comes to a possible meeting between Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“We have said a few times, Putin himself has said that, as well as myself, that we never avoid contacts,” Lavrov said during his annual news conference in Moscow.
“But so far, we are not hearing any substantial ideas,” he added.
Prior to the G20 summit in Indonesia, Biden said he didn’t see a good reason for a sit-down.
“It would depend on specifically what he wanted to talk about,” Biden told CNN in late October, adding if Putin wanted to discuss the jailed American basketball star Brittney Griner, then he would be open to talking.
“But look, he’s acted brutally, he’s acted brutally,” Biden said. “I think he’s committed war crimes. And so I don’t, I don’t see any rationale to meet with him now.”