MOSCOW – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that nearly two hours of meeting on Tuesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on “almost all the problems our two countries are facing “have been productive, although there does not seem to be any major breakthrough, VoA reported on Wednesday.
The United States and Russia have interests in a number of ongoing global issues. But they often end up on opposite sides, even if they share a stated basic purpose.
One such situation is the conflict in Syria, where Russia supported President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, while the United States supported rebels who want Assad to resign. Russian-American efforts to end the US-led 2011 war collapsed in 2016.
But Pompeo told reporters on Tuesday that he thought US and Russian officials “can now start working together” in order to begin the process outlined in a UN Security Council resolution calling for a political transition led by the United Nations Syria with a ceasefire, constitution and elections.
“I’m not sure we have all the capacity for that, but I think we now have a common understanding of where we’ve been hanging, which I think we can work our way through, Pompeo said after talks at the headquarters of Russia Black Sea Station of Sochi.
He also hoped that the United States and Russia could work for what he sees as a common goal of a nuclear-free North Korea.
Iran, Ukraine and Venezuela were also discussed at Tuesday’s meeting.
At a joint press conference with Lavrov after the talks, Pompeo said the US is willing to rebuild relations with Russia, but expects Russian counterparts to act decisively.
“President Trump has made it clear that he hopes to improve relations between our countries, which would benefit all of our peoples, and I think our talks today have been a step in the right direction,” Pompeo said.
Putin said he spoke to US President Donald Trump a few days ago. He had the impression that Trump “actually intended to rebuild US-Russia relations and contacts to solve problems of mutual interest.”
“On our behalf, we have repeatedly said that we also want to rebuild relationships in their own right, and I hope that the right environment is being built for that,” Putin told Pompeo.
Putin then referred to the investigation by the special advocate Robert Mueller into Russian electoral interference, calling it “exotic work”. Putin denied any collusion between his government and the current US administration.
Earlier, at the joint press conference after talks with Lavrov, Pompeo sent some harsh warnings to Russia, saying she should not interfere in the US 2020 election, release Ukrainian sailors captured and try to restore peace with Ukraine.
He also said the two sides did not agree on Venezuela and called on Russia to end its support for President Nicolas Maduro. The United States and 50 other countries have recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as the interim leader of Venezuela.
Experts said meetings in Sochi showed that even in cases where the interests of the United States and Russia overlap in some parts of the world, this should be seen as a mere coincidence rather than a model.
“We are talking about a certain convergence of situation, and not a unified vision of the world situation,” said President of the Council of International Affairs of Russia Andrei Kurtunov.
Pompeo’s visit comes just weeks before the Group of 20 summit, to be held on 28-29 June in Osaka, Japan. Putin and President Trump should attend. Trump said Monday he will meet Putin on the sidelines of the G-20 summit.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)