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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 was set to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin at his residence in Sochi later in the evening, for the countries' highest-level bilateral talks in almost a year.

Pompeo, on his first visit to Russian Federation as the top USA diplomat, said the Trump administration is committed to improving ties and wants to work together where the two countries have what he called "overlapping interests".

Putin hailed the two-year investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller that did not find collusion by the Trump campaign - but documented extensive meddling by Russian Federation, especially by manipulating social media.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday. "For our part, we have repeatedly said that we would also like to restore full-format relations". "I hope that, today, the situation is changing".

And apparently Putin's opinion puts him at odds with President Donald Trump, who's repeatedly yelled about the Russian Federation investigation being a "hoax". We have encouraged them not to. We wouldn't tolerate that. "Our elections are important and sacred and they must be free and fair", he added.

"There were no assurances from Pompeo", Putin's spokesman told reporters. "But there are places that our two countries can find where we can be cooperative, we can be productive, we can be accumulative".

"As you know, not long ago, a few days ago, I had the pleasure of talking with the president of the United States by telephone", he said.

Pompeo spoke of "truly overlapping interests" that the two countries "can build on, and most importantly, President Trump very much wants to do that".

"Some of our cooperation has been excellent, on North Korea, on Afghanistan, " Pompeo told Putin. But he also told Putin that "just as you will, we'll protect our nation's interest".

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

"On Venezuela, we have disagreement", Pompeo said. "We want every country that's interfering in Venezuela to cease doing that".

After several hours of talks between Pompeo and Lavrov - and another 90 minutes between Pompeo and Putin - Kremlin foreign policy adviser Yury Ushakov praised Pompeo for holding a "not bad, concrete conversation".

Iran was one of the key items on the agenda because of tensions in the region rising.

Russian Federation and America on Tuesday agreed to seek better relations and ease tensions, even as they clashed on issues ranging from Iran and Venezuela to alleged Kremlin meddling in USA elections.

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

Last week, the United States sent an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Middle East in response to intelligence that Iran was planning attacks on American interests.

Hanging over Trump's quest for warm ties with Russian Federation have been persistent allegations that his campaign worked with the rival power to swing the 2016 election to the mogul over his rival Hillary Clinton.



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