MOSCOW - Russia on Thursday welcomed the US Senate's confirmation of John Kerry as the next secretary of state and suggested his appointment could improve ties that have been badly strained over the past year.
Cordial comments by the Foreign Ministry spokesman at a weekly briefing may signal Russia wants to ease tensions caused by disagreements over issues including human rights and Syria as President Barack Obama's second term get under way.
But they came with a caveat that President Vladimir Putin issued when he started a six-year presidential term in May: Russia will not tolerate lecturing or meddling in its affairs by Moscow's former Cold War foe.
"I would like to say that we are hoping for constructive work with him," ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said. "John Kerry is a well-known political figure with rich experience in international affairs and knowledge of international relations."
"For this reason we are convinced that (his appointment) will provide good support for the development of interaction between our countries, and help give bilateral cooperation a positive dynamic."