Tuesday, 23 July, 2019

Keep your noses out! United States issues warning to Putin over election interference

Pompeo meets Lavrov amid hope for improved US-Russia ties U.S., Russia foreign ministers meet in Sochi with full agenda of issues
Deanna Wagner | 16 May, 2019, 12:32

Pompeo said that Syria - where the United States and Russian Federation are on opposite sides - was a major topic of conversation during the talks Tuesday evening at Putin's dacha in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

A day after Trump said he would meet with Putin at the Group of 20 summit of leaders in Japan in June, Lavrov said Russian Federation has not received a formal proposal. "Our elections are important and sacred and they must be free and fair", he added.

Of course special counsel Robert Mueller did find that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 election in support of President Trump.

When asked about a New York Times report on his administration's military plans concerning Iran, Trump called it "fake news" and said there are no plans for that.

But Pompeo told reporters Tuesday he thinks USA and Russian officials "now can begin to work together" in a way to begin the process set out in a U.N. Security Council resolution that calls for a Syrian-led political transition with a cease-fire, new constitution and elections.

Venezuela was a key point of discussion and difference, with the USA firm in its commitment to support opposition figure Juan Guaidó as the country's legitimate leader and Russian Federation equally firm in its backing of embattled President Nicolas Maduro.

Putin told Pompeo his recent telephone conversation with Trump raised hopes for an improvement in relations.

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"We of course heard President Trump's statement that he expects to hold a meeting with President Putin, " Lavrov said in the news conference. "And I think that our talks here today were a good step in this direction", said Pompeo.

In Sochi, Pompeo said his country did not want war with Iran, despite a spike in tensions that has seen the Pentagon dispatch nuclear-capable bombers to the region.

As well as the issue of interference in USA elections, the two men also clashed over Venezuela, with Lavrov sharply criticising Washington for trying to undermine President Nicolas Maduro, who Pompeo said must now step down in the face of economic crisis and large-scale protests against his rule. "Everything will depend on what our USA partners want", Ushakov said.

Although Mr Pompeo and Mr Lavrov made some positive remarks about the potential for cooperation on nuclear arms control, Pompeo listed a large number of United States complaints about Russian Federation.

"We have many differences here but the fact we will continue to discuss the situation that gives us hope that certain agreements could be reached with the support of the United States and Russia", Lavrov said, according to CBS News.

The U.S. had warned sailors of the potential for attacks on commercial sea traffic. "We have also made clear to the Iranians that if American interests are attacked we will most certainly respond in the appropriate fashion".

But, like Pompeo, Khamenei stopped short of saying Iran is now seeking a resolution to the tensions.