From the Russian party Chairman of the Committee Leonid Slutsky, First Deputy Chairman Dmitry Novikov, members of the Committee Inga Yumasheva, Sergei Zheleznyak and Director of Science of the Institute for the USA and Canadian Studies of Russian Academy of Sciences Sergey Rogov took part in the meeting.
The US delegation led by Senator Rand Paul also included Senator of the Legislative Assembly of Texas Don Huffines, President of the Cato Institute Peter Goettler.
During the meeting the parties discussed a number of issues on the bilateral agenda, including sanctions, the necessityof negotiation process for the extension of START III and the case of Maria Butina.
The head of the Committee proposed to protect Maria Butina. He noted that accusations against her were based on the fact that she had not registered as a foreign agent, but her activity did not imply such registration. “We hope and expect that our American colleagues will conduct necessary consultations with Washington,” – Leonid Slutsky said. “We are using the full potential of Russian diplomacy to liberate her, this is our first task.”
Sergei Zheleznyak noted that Russia always stands for dialogue, despite the contradictions existing between the two countries.
“Republican Senator Rand Paul and his colleagues also expressed their readiness for direct communication,” – he said.
“Russia never imposes its friendship on anyone and respects the sovereignty of others. At the same timewe completely understand the degree of responsibility in the face of real international challenges that can be effectively addressed only collectively. Many politicians, businessmen and public figures in the US understand the absurdity and defectiveness of confrontation, declaring the need to restore ties with our country at all levels, as demonstrated today by the meeting in the State Duma, if representatives of the Senate manage to convince theirIf the US representatives manage to convince their colleagues of the lack of alternatives to the dialogue, we will be ready to develop direct contacts through the international committees of our parliaments and in any other formats acceptable to both sides”, — said Sergey Zheleznyak.
Inga Yumasheva, coordinator of the US Congressional Relations Group, proposed that a similar group of senators and members of the House of Representatives of the US Congress should be established in the United States. The Committee member also drew attention to the need to intensify youth exchange programs between Russia and the United States. “At the present time, when the image of a country and its residents is formed mainly through the media and, unfortunately, the image is often highly distorted, it is highly valuable to give people an opportunity to communicate alive, to learn the culture, the history of each other. After all, if we do not act, then a generation of desperate Russophobes and Americanophobes will grow up, and it willbe very difficult to part with their stereotypes, ” – Inga Yumasheva said.