Russia Hoping for 'post-West World Order,' Foreign Minister Says

Moscow seeking 'pragmatic relations' with the U.S., Foreign Minister Lavrov says, even as VP Pence warns Munich confab that Russia will beheld accountable.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrives for talks in the so-called Normandy format at the 53rd Munich Security Conference (MSC) at the Bayerischer Hof hotel in Munich, southern Germany, on February 18, 2017.
SVEN HOPPE/AFP

Russia wants pragmatic relations with the United States but also is hoping for the creation of a "post-West world order," the country's foreign minister said Saturday.

Sergey Lavrov's comments at the Munich Security Conference came hours after Vice President Mike Pence told the gathering that the U.S. will "hold Russia accountable" even as the Trump administration searches for common ground with Moscow. The annual get-together of diplomats and defense officials has been marked by Western concerns about President Donald Trump's approach to foreign policy and attitude toward Russia.

"What kind of relations do we want with the U.S.? Pragmatic relations, mutual respect, understanding our special responsibility for global stability," Lavrov said.

"We have immense potential that has yet to be tapped into, and we're open for that inasmuch as the U.S. is open for that as well," he added.

More broadly, Lavrov declared that NATO "remained a Cold War institution." Pence earlier said Washington "strongly supports" the military alliance, the latest in a string of U.S. leaders to give similar commitments after Trump in the past called it "obsolete."

"Responsible leaders should make a choice, I hope that the choice will be done in favor a creating a democratic and just world order," Lavrov said, speaking through an interpreter.

"If you want, you can call it a post-West world order when each country, based on its sovereignty within the rules of international law, will strive to find a balance between its own national interests and the national interests of partners."