Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu asserted Thursday that any attempt by Washington to boost ties with Moscow from a position of strength would be "fruitless" although his ministry is interested in renewing its cooperation with the US Department of Defense. He was responding to a comment by American Secretary of Defense James Mattis that Washington is "open to opportunities to restore a cooperative relationship with Moscow while....ensuring our diplomats negotiate from a position of strength." Shoigu said he expects that the issue will be resolved at a meeting on Thursday in Azerbaijan's capital Baku between Valery Makarov, chief of staff of the Russian military, and his American counterpart Joseph Dunford.