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Trump, Lavrov meet amid FBI Chief firing

11 May 2017 [13:00] - TODAY.AZ

By Azernews

By Kamila Aliyeva

Moscow and Washington aim to remove all the barriers to having better relations as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held talks with the U.S. high-ranking official, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and U.S. President Donald Trump.

The meeting was held amid firing of the FBI director who was leading a probe into Moscow's alleged interference in U.S. politics.

The talks were the highest-level public contact between Trump and the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin since the Republicans took office on January 20.

Cooperation on the international stage topped the agenda of the talks. Moscow and Washington can and should solve global issues together, Lavrov said following the meetings.

"At present, our dialogue is not as politicized as it used to be during Obama’s presidency. The Trump administration, including the president himself and the secretary of state, are people of action who are willing to negotiate," the Russian top diplomat pointed out.

Lavrov noted that agreement with Tillerson to continue using diplomatic channel to discuss Russian-U.S. relations was reached. 

The reason for deterioration of ties lies in actions of the previous administration which did “everything possible to undermine the basis of our relations so now we have to start from a very low level."

"President Trump has clarified his interest in building mutually beneficial and practical relations, as well as in solving issues," Lavrov stressed.

Lavrov believes Syria has areas where U.S. might contribute to operation of de-escalation zones, the agreement on which came as a result of the recent round of talks held in Astana.

"We are ready for this cooperation and today have discussed in detail the steps and mechanisms which we can manage together," Lavrov said.

Although U.S. acts as observer in these talks, the country supports international efforts to end war in Syria and find political solution to the long-lasting bloody conflict. Russia, as a guarantor country awaits more active position from U.S. on this issue, according to Lavrov.

A thorough discussion of Syrian issue, particularly de-escalation zones, was held.

"We proceed from the fact they will take up the initiative. We share an understanding that this should become a common step aimed at putting an end to violence across Syria," he added.

The U.S. administration has generally welcomed the Russian plan, but has expressed wariness about Moscow's support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and the role of Iran and Iranian forces in the country.

The talks also mentioned the Palestinian-Israeli settlement, the situation in Afghanistan, and also the fulfillment of the Minsk accords on the political settlement in east Ukraine. These issues will be addressed in future working contacts between two countries.

Lavrov has noted that he and Tillerson would consider issues to be discussed by the two countries’ presidents at their meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit scheduled for July. More tangible and concrete results are expected from the upcoming meeting. 

Trump described his talks with Lavrov as "very, very good."

When asked whether the Comey dismissal had affected his meeting, Trump said, "not at all."

Two days ago, Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, whose agency is investigating alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the possibility Trump associates may have colluded with Moscow. Democrats accused Trump of trying to slow down the investigation by firing the FBI chief.


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