Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called Saturday for an end to a world order dominated by the West and said Moscow wanted to establish a “pragmatic” relationship with the United States based on mutual respect.
Lavrov was speaking at the Munich Security Conference shortly after U.S. Vice President Mike Pence told the audience Washington remained “unwavering” in its commitment to the U.S.-led NATO military alliance as it faced a more assertive Russia.
Lavrov said that the time when the West called the shots was over and, dismissing NATO as a relic of the Cold War, added: “I hope that (the world) will choose a democratic world order — a post-West one — in which each country is defined by its sovereignty.”
Lavrov said Moscow wanted to build relations with Washington which would be “pragmatic with mutual respect and acknowledgement of our responsibility for global stability.”
The two countries had never been in direct conflict, he said, noting that they were actually close neighbors across the Baring Straits.
Russia wanted to see a “common space of good neighbor relations from Vancouver to Vladivostok,” he added.
Lavrov also said he “saw no facts” pointing to hacking by Russia to influence the outcome of elections in other countries, including the United States.
He told the conference that Russia did not want its citizens to get involved in cyber crimes.
Pence was in Europe along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and defense chief James Mattis as part of efforts to reassure allies rattled by President Donald Trump’s “America First” stance and his calls for improved ties with Russia despite the continuing crisis in Ukraine.