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Pompeo meets Lavrov amid hope for improved US-Russia ties


Pompeo meets Lavrov amid hope for improved US-Russia ties

Pompeo meets Lavrov amid hope for improved US-Russia ties

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has told US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo it was time for Moscow and Washington to put aside years of mistrust and find a way to work together constructively.

Pompeo is in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi for talks with his Russian counterpart, and later on, Tuesday will also hold consultations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Ties between the two countries have been damaged by allegations – denied by Moscow – that Russia tried to influence the results of the 2016 United States presidential election, and by differences over Iran, Syria, Ukraine and Venezuela.

“We see that there are suspicions and prejudices,” Lavrov told Pompeo at the start of their talks.

“This hinders both your security and our security and causes concern around the world. We think it is time to build a new and more constructive matrix for our relations,” he said.

“We are ready to do that if our US colleagues are ready to reciprocate … Let’s try, and see what happens.”

Responding to Lavrov’s opening remarks, Pompeo said: “I’m here today because President Trump is committed to improving this relationship.”

Pompeo said that improved ties “will be good not only for our two countries but for the whole world as well.”

He identified counterterrorism and combatting nuclear proliferation as two areas where Moscow and Washington could find common ground.

Pompeo’s visit represents the first high-level contact between Moscow and Washington since US Special Counsel Robert Mueller submitted a report examining the nature of Russia’s role in the 2016 US presidential election.

His inquiry had cast a pall over US-Russian relations, and Russian officials had expressed hope that Washington would have more scope to build friendlier relations with Moscow once it was out of the way.

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