Tillerson: We ‘cannot reset’ relations with Russia

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Sunday the United States cannot “reset” relations with Russia or start with a clean slate, calling instead for the two countries to “reengage” each other. 

“I think it’s important to understand we’re not trying to start with a clean slate,” Tillerson told host Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“I think terms like having a reset are overused. You cannot reset. You cannot erase the past. You cannot start with a clean slate. And we’re not trying to start with a clean slate.

{mosads}”We’re starting with the slate we have. And all the problems that are on that slate. We don’t dismiss any of them. We don’t give anyone a free pass on any of them,” Tillerson added.

His comments mark a split from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s “reset” approach toward the Kremlin, which she instituted in 2009 after handing Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov a red button with “reset” written on it in English during a meeting in Geneva.

Tillerson said President Trump believes it is important to “reengage” Russia, acknowledging that the two countries have problems to address.

“And yes, there are a large number of issues that we have to get around to addressing in order to put this relationship back together, if that is indeed possible.”

Tillerson said the U.S.-Russian relationship is at “an all-time low point since the end of the Cold War,” adding that there is a “very low level of trust” between the two countries.

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