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Pompeo meets Lavrov amid hope for improved US-Russia ties

15 May 2019

Meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov earlier in the day, Pompeo said that Washington would tolerate no interference by Moscow in the 2020 United States presidential election.

"I've formed the impression that your president wants to fix Russia-U.S. ties and contacts and wants to solve issues which are of common interest for us", Putin told Pompeo.

"Negotiating with the present American government is doubly poisonous... they are not decent humans, they don't stand by anything", he said referring to the USA decision to withdraw from the landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and major world powers.

"If Russia engaged in that in 2020, it would put our relationship in an even worse place than it has been".

Iran last week announced it was suspending some of its commitments under the agreement, a year after US President Donald Trump withdrew from the accord and imposed swingeing sanctions on the Islamic republic - putting the deal in peril.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during the Arctic Council summit at the Lappi Areena in Rovaniemi, Finland May 7, 2019.

Both Lavrov and Pompeo said they shared a desire to improve battered ties despite not being able to confirm a suggestion by Trump that he would meet Putin on the sidelines of a meeting of the G20 in Japan next month.

Putin told Pompeo his recent telephone conversation with Trump raised hopes for an improvement in relations.

Maas said he used his one-on-one meeting with Pompeo to stress that "we are concerned about the development and the tensions in the region, that we do not want there to be a military escalation".

Pompeo met with Putin on Monday in Russia's resort of Sochi where he sought to alleviate some of the concerns about the spiraling tensions but made clear the US would respond to any attacks on American targets. Since the 2016 campaign, many U.S. media outlets and the Democrats have accused Trump of being a "Kremlin agent" and Russian Federation of "meddling" in United States election, but no concrete evidence of that has ever been offered.

"Despite the exotic nature of Mr Mueller's commission, on the whole he conducted quite an objective investigation and confirmed the absence of any collusion between the USA administration and Russia", Putin said.

Pompeo, speaking earlier at a joint news conference with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, acknowledged deep differences on election meddling - and warned Russian Federation to stay out of next year's vote.

"I hope that reason will triumph", Lavrov said, adding that he hoped reports in the USA media that President Donald Trump is planning to send 120,000 troops to counter Iran turn out to be wrong.

"We are looking for Iran to behave like a normal country", Pompeo said, pointing in part to Tehran's backing of Huthi rebels in Yemen who are under attack from United States ally Saudi Arabia.

Pompeo spoke of "truly overlapping interests" that the two countries "can build on, and most importantly, President Trump very much wants to do that". "We share the same threat assessment", he said.

Pompeo and Lavrov have in the past weeks called on the other's country to get out of crisis-wracked Venezuela.

The U.S. has been critical of Russian Federation for propping up Maduro's regime. Europe considers the deal key to preventing a nuclear-armed Iran. But Putin's aide Yuri Ushakov said they did not touch on Ukraine, where Russia's backing of separatist rebels have prompted U.S. sanctions.

Pompeo meets Lavrov amid hope for improved US-Russia ties