West cannot treat Russia as an equal partner: UK

LONDON
Britain’s defense minister said on Sunday he was ready to work with his new US counterpart but that Western nations could not treat Russia as an equal partner as Moscow was a strategic competitor.
Several appointments by US President-elect Donald Trump have suggested his administration could forge warmer relations with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, worrying several European allies, especially in eastern Europe.
“I’m ready to work with the new Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis… to be strong against Russian aggression toward NATO, to de-escalate tensions with Moscow and as I said to continue to work with Russia on how we get toward a settlement in Syria,” Michael Fallon told the BBC.
“That can’t be treating Russia as an equal. Russia is a strategic competitor to us in the West and we have to understand that,” he said.
Trump is expected to name the chief executive of Exxon Mobil Corp. as secretary of state, a source told Reuters on Saturday, an appointment that would put in place an official with close ties to the Russian government. — Reuters

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