GENEVA, (Xinhua) — A meeting between U.S. National Security Advisor John R. Bolton and his Russian counterpart, Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, concluded Thursday afternoon here in Geneva without reaching a joint statement though both sides cited “progress”.
Speaking to journalists at a press briefing inside the U.S. mission in Geneva, Bolton said that they had made some progress, and identified specific areas “in which it is possible to restore communication lines and conduct more work within the relevant departments”.
The senior U.S. official told reporters that they discussed “the whole range of issues”, like non-proliferation and arms control, bilateral issues, the fight against terrorism, illegal migration, topics related to cyberspace, regional issues such as Syria, the Middle East, Afghanistan and Ukraine.
Bolton said that he also warned his Russian counterpart not to intervene the upcoming U.S. midterm elections, saying that he made it clear the U.S. wouldn’t tolerate election meddling in 2018 and they were prepared to “take necessary steps to prevent it from happening”.
The U.S. has imposed a series of sanctions and expelled a number of Russian diplomats due to the alleged Russian election interference, but Moscow has denied the accusations.
As for the Syrian issue and the role of Iran, Bolton said that the U.S. position is that “all Iranian forces return to Iran”, adding that he and his Russian counterpart talked about a variety of ways in which it might be accomplished through a series of steps.
Thursday’s meeting, lasting for more than five hours, was the first such talks since the summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump in Helsinki last month.
While describing the meeting with his U.S. counterpart as “constructive”, Patrushev said that he had invited U.S. officials to Moscow or any other Russian city for a new round of talks, but no agreement had been reached on the timing for further talks.
“An agreement has been reached that those channels that were suspended — between the defense ministries, the defense ministers, chiefs of general staff and other working groups — will resume work. Contacts between the foreign ministries will resume as well,” Patrushev was cited as saying by Russian media after the meeting.