Diplomat scoffs at 'noise' of Russian meddling

Laura Christensen
May 16, 2017

"In development of this dialogue at the highest level" US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow in April and Lavrov had a meeting with Trump in Washington on Wednesday, he said. Peskov called it "an entirely domestic matter" for the US. Tillerson ignored questions about Trump and Comey.

During his appearance with Mr Tillerson, Mr Lavrov feigned surprise when asked whether James Comey's firing as Federal Bureau of Investigation director cast a shadow over the US-Russia talks.

KELEMEN: The official White House and State Department readouts also didn't mention Russia's meddling in US elections, and that angered the ranking Democrat on the Senate foreign relations committee, Ben Cardin.

The comments came a day after Trump hosted Lavrov for the talks at the White House focused largely on the situation in Syria. However, In his earlier meeting with Mr Lavrov, Mr Tillerson emphasised the USA wouldn't lift sanctions on Russian Federation related to Ukraine until Moscow reverses the actions that triggered the punishment - namely, its Crimea annexation.

The minister said that agreement was reached to continue using diplomatic channel to discuss Russian-US relations as he confirmed Trump's interest in building mutually beneficial relations.

Russia, Turkey and Iran last week agreed on a plan for four "de-escalation zones" in the Arab country to quell a civil war that has killed some 400,000 people and contributed to global refugee and terror crises since erupting in 2011.

Washington has long said Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad can't remain in power if the war-torn nation is to move forward.

Suited up for a hockey game in Sochi, Russia, Putin - when asked what he thought of Trump's firing of Comey on Tuesday - said: "Your question seems very amusing to me".

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The White House said Trump "raised the possibility of broader cooperation on resolving conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere" and still sought to build a better relationship between the two countries.

"We do not have a notion of an exit strategy", Lavrov said during the press conference at the Russian embassy on Wednesday. Congress is already carrying out probes over reports that Trump campaign associates were in contact with the Kremlin prior to the U.S election.

"We want to see the killing, the frightful killing, stopped in Syria as soon as possible and everyone is working towards that end", Trump told reporters.

"Was he fired?" Lavrov says, "You're kidding?" The U.S. only sent an envoy to the talks as an observer.

Reporters were allowed in after and found Trump meeting with Henry Kissinger, who served as secretary of state under President Richard Nixon-a man to whom Trump has been gratuitously compared.

The U.S. has reacted cautiously to the Russia-led agreement on safe zones.

"I never thought that I would have to answer such questions particularly being in the U.S.", Lavrov told reporters.

"On Syria, the Secretary intends to discuss efforts to de-escalate violence, provide humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people, and set the stage for a political settlement of the conflict", said a statement issued by the State Department.

Other reports by My Hot News

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