"We Fundamentally Don't Seek War With Iran", Says US State Secretary

Cheryl Sanders
May 16, 2019

But Pompeo also named regions where he saw potential for the United States and Russian Federation to work together more closely.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will cancel the Moscow leg of his Russian Federation trip, but will meet President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the Black Sea resort of Sochi as planned on Tuesday (14 May), a State Department official said.

"We are talking about some situational convergence, and not about a unified vision of the global picture", said the head of the Russian International Affairs Council, Andrey Kurtunov. "Still, that was one of the reasons for the certain break in our inter-state ties", he said. "I hope that, today, the situation is changing".

Pompeo's trip comes a few weeks ahead of a Group of 20 summit meeting June 28-29 in Osaka, Japan, with both Putin and President Trump expected to attend.

If Russia meddles in next year's election, "it would put our relationship in an even worse place", the top United States diplomat told a joint news conference with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, calling on Moscow "to demonstrate that these types of activities are a thing of the past". Iran has denied that they are interested in war.

"We would not tolerate that. Our elections are important and sacred and they must be free and fair", he added.

After meeting with Putin, Pompeo told reporters: "So it's not about moving on. 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 others caution that even if Trump were to have more room to maneuver at home, the interests of the two countries continue to diverge around the world. Some of our cooperation has been excellent: on North Korea, on Afghanistan, we have done good work, counter-terrorism work together. "We have differences and each country will protect its own interests, look out for its own interests of its people".

Trump said Monday that he expects to meet with the presidents of both Russian Federation and China on the sidelines of the G20 meeting. These are the things we can build upon. "It's not destined that we're adversaries on every issue".

Pompeo - who just three days earlier in a speech said that "the Putin regime slays dissidents in cold blood" - said he was not trying to reconcile but rather to find common interests.

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

Experts said the meetings in Sochi demonstrated that even in cases when USA and Russian interests overlap in certain parts of the world, it should be viewed as a mere coincidence, rather than a pattern.

One such situation is the conflict in Syria, where Russian Federation has supported President Bashar al-Assad's forces, while the United States has backed rebels who want to see Assad out of office. U.S.

US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on Tuesday said his country is not seeking war with Iran, despite a spike in tensions that has seen the Pentagon dispatch nuclear-capable bombers to the region.

Lavrov said Russian Federation is hoping for a positive response from the United States about extending the New START arms control treaty, which is due to expire in 2021, "but we really have some concerns which are related to the re-equipping of launchers of Trident submarines and heavy bombers announced by the United States".

"If such a proposal is received, we will respond to it in a positive way", he said.

Putin's foreign affairs adviser Yuri Ushakov said later that the Kremlin is prepared to agree to any format for a Putin-Trump meeting.

Other reports by iNewsToday