Putin Meets Pompeo as US Seeks 'a Way Forward' in Ties

Lester Mason
May 15, 2019

"I hope that the necessary conditions for that to happen will now be created".

Lavrov said the Mueller report and "baseless" allegations of Putin-Trump collusion in the 2016 election had "frozen" the relationship.

Pompeo said improved ties between the two countries - damaged by Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014, Russian interference in the 2016 USA presidential election and US sanctions against Russia - "will be good not only for our two countries but for the whole world as well".

Pompeo meanwhile said he had urged Lavrov to end Russia's support for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. We wouldn't tolerate that. "Our elections are important and sacred and they must be free and fair", he added.

After meeting with Putin, Pompeo told reporters: "So it's not about moving on. It's about trying to find solutions, compromises, places where there are overlapping interests you can make progress unlocking some of the most hard problems that are facing us". And we hope that we can continue to move forward. "I got the impression that the [US] president was inclined to re-establish Russian-American relations and contacts to resolve together the issues that are of mutual interest to us".

"It's not about 'moving on.' It's about trying to find solutions, compromises, places where there are overlapping interests", he told reporters. They would also like Iran to stay in the Iran nuclear deal so that they never acquire a nuclear weapon.

Pompeo had planned a visit to Moscow beforehand, but it was scrapped so that he could travel to Belgium to talk with European officials about the growing threat posed by Iran. "We share the same threat assessment", he said. "We want every country that's interfering in Venezuela to cease doing that".

"We are very anxious about a conflict, about the risk of a conflict ... of an escalation that is unintended", Britain's Jeremy Hunt told reporters in Brussels before talks with Pompeo.

Iran's supreme leader claims that enriching uranium to weapons-grade levels would not be a hard task for the country - the latest threats from Tehran as tensions roil the region amid the unraveling of the nuclear deal.

U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook speaks to VOA Persian at the State Department in Washington, May 9, 2019.

Russian Federation has criticised Washington's exit from the 2015 nuclear deal, an agreement which curbed Iran's nuclear ambitions in return for sanctions relief.

Pompeo sought to alleviate some of the concern but made clear the USA would respond to attacks.

Lavrov said Russian Federation is hoping for a positive response from the United States about extending the New START arms control treaty, which is due to expire in 2021, "but we really have some concerns which are related to the re-equipping of launchers of Trident submarines and heavy bombers announced by the United States".

Russian Federation and the USA also do not see eye to eye when it comes to Syria, where government forces have been leading a major offensive against the last rebel-held province in recent weeks. "We heard a proposal - if we receive such an official invitation we'll respond positively", said Lavrov.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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