Russian Federation tells Pompeo: Enough mistrust, let's reboot ties

Cheryl Sanders
May 15, 2019

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.

Pompeo was the highest-ranking American to see Putin since July when the Russian leader met in Helsinki with Trump - who shocked the USA establishment by seeming to take at face value Putin's denials of election interference.

"I am here today because President Trump is committed to improving this relationship", Pompeo said as he started a meeting with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. We have encouraged them not to. "We would not tolerate that". "Our elections are important and sacred and they must be free and fair".

Putin would agree to such a meeting if formally asked, a Kremlin aide told reporters. "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". "But the implementation of the agreement, which was reached a few months ago, is in full swing", 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". He cited cooperation in Afghanistan and counterterrorism more broadly, but also a shared goal of getting North Korea to abandon nuclear weapons. "We have differences and each country will protect its own interests, look out for its own interests of its people". Russian Federation has interests in oil projects in Venezuela and has propped up Mr Maduro's regime with loans.

Pompeo canceled a visit to Moscow on Monday and stopped in Brussels instead, en route to Sochi. "We want the regime to stop conducting assassination campaigns".

Lavrov and Pompeo are likely to talk about arms control after the USA pulled out of the INF, a key post-Cold War security treaty, and indicated its interests in a new agreement that also includes China.

Iran was another critical agenda item amid spiraling tension between Washington and Tehran that some fear could lead to conflict.

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

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

Iran recently threatened to resume higher enrichment in 60 days if no new nuclear deal is in place, beyond the 3.67% permitted by the current deal between Tehran and world powers.

"What the Americans insist, we know".

"For our part, we have a couple of times said that we would also like to fully restore relations, and we hope that now the conditions for that have been met", Putin added. He also held 90 minutes of talks with Putin. "We heard a proposal - if we receive such an official invitation we'll respond positively", said Lavrov. Trump said on Monday that he will meet with Putin on the sidelines of G-20 summit.

Other reports by iNewsToday