7 Nov 2017 10:47

Russia-U.S. tension caused by both sides' mistakes - last U.S. ambassador to USSR

WASHINGTON. Nov 7 (Interfax) - Russia's and the U.S.' fundamental interests are compatible and should be the basis of cooperation rather than confrontation, the last U.S. Ambassador to the USSR, Jack Matlock, told Interfax in an interview.

"The current tension is the result of political mistakes on both sides. The current situation does not serve the genuine interests of the people in either country," Matlock said.

"In fact, the most basic Russian and American interests are compatible and should be the basis of cooperation rather than confrontation," he said.

The diplomat believes it was a mistake on the U.S.' part to show "insufficient sensitivity to Russian attitudes in several actions."

"Most of which were not in fact directed against Russian interests but were interpreted by Russia as hostile or demeaning," Matlock said.

"This prompted overreaction on the Russian part and actions that were in fact damaging to Russia's true interests," he said.

As to Russia, "the treatment of Ukraine has been very damaging to Russian interests," Matlock said.

"No other country is as important to Russia's security and future as is Ukraine," he said.

Matlock does not feel optimistic about the prospects for improving bilateral relations. "Given the political atmosphere in Washington today, it is hard to believe that an immediate personal meeting [between Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin] would be helpful," Matlock said.

"I do think that it would be helpful if both presidents were to state publically that they see no valid reason for the U.S. and Russia to consider the other an enemy and see compelling reasons for the two countries to cooperate to serve common interests," he said.

"The future will not be determined by where political boundaries are drawn or by which countries influence others. We must all stop acting like the countries of Europe did before the war that began in 1914," Matlock said.