Pompeo meets Lavrov amid hope for improved US-Russia ties

Pompeo meets Lavrov amid hope for improved US-Russia ties

Pompeo and Lavrov, who appeared at ease with other, were to brief President Vladimir Putin on the meeting in the evening.

"I'm hoping the situation [in the relationship] is changing" after the report's release he added.

"I conveyed that there are things that Russian Federation can do to demonstrate that these kinds of activities are a thing of the past".

LUCIAN KIM, BYLINE: Hi, Ari.

Putin praised United States special counsel Robert Mueller for "an objective investigation" that confirmed the absence of all traces of collusion between Russian Federation and the current USA administration.

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.

During a press conference with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Putin shared his thoughts on the Mueller probe.

KIM: Yes, he did.

"But it's not destined that we're adversaries on all issues and I hope that we can find places where we have a set of overlapping interests and continue to build out strong relationships, at least on those particular issues", Pompeo said. But it seems that both the Trump administration and the Kremlin see the end of the Mueller investigation as a sort of milestone, that it's now behind them.

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday said he had "frank and useful" discussions with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on a slew of issues, including Venezuela and Syria.

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Pompeo, despite his close relationship with Trump, left little doubt on where he stood in remarks Saturday in California.

The meeting of Trump and Putin would be held next month, as part of the G-20 Summit, in the Japanese city of Osaka.

According to Pompeo, the parties also talked about implementation and "how we might move forward in obtaining a ceasefire in the Donbas region". The U.S. commitment to kill that agreement, despite Iran's IAEA-certified compliance, and its increased pressure on Iran demonstrate that at this point no rational conversation on Iran is viable with this administration. And this is a very serious agreement that they have. Because if Iran becomes a nuclear power, its neighbours are likely to want to become nuclear powers.

Heads of Russian and USA diplomacy on Tuesday met in the Russian coastal city of Sochi for the second time in two weeks amid hopes for improved ties between the two countries.

The United States has also vowed never to recognise Russia's 2014 takeover of Crimea and has slapped sanctions over Moscow's backing of armed separatists in Ukraine.

At a joint press conference with Mr Pompeo in Sochi, southern Russia, Sergey Lavrov said that the U.S. was wrong to support the Venezuelan opposition leader, Juan Guaidó.

The two also differed on the issue of Venezuela, too. Instead, he said, Iran has "chosen the path of resistance", adding that US officials know it's not in their interest to engage in a hot military conflict. But, crucially, both sides have fervently downplayed the possibility of warfare. "Our elections are important and sacred and they must be free and fair", he added.

Commenting the deployment of some 120,000 USA troops to the Iran border, Pompeo said the movement of troops is a part of a plan "to make it clear to the Iranians that if American interests are attacked, we will most certainly respond in an appropriate fashion".

"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 Russian Federation", he said.

KIM: Well, actually they did.

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