Lavrov says he and Pompeo agreed steps to normalize Russia-US relations

Lavrov says he and Pompeo agreed steps to normalize Russia-US relations

Lavrov told the top U.S. diplomat - who also will hold talks with President Vladimir Putin - that it was time for Moscow and Washington to put aside years of mistrust and find a way to work together, according to Reuters.

U.S. 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, a State Department official said.

Visiting Russia for the first time as secretary of state, Pompeo publicly clashed with Lavrov on issues from Ukraine to Venezuela.

On Ukraine, Pompeo told Lavrov the United States would not recognise Moscow's 2014 annexation of Crimea and would keep in place economic sanctions imposed on Russian Federation over that move.

After Pompeo's office objected to the release, the statement was taken down from the website, according to officials, who stressed that it had not been formally recalled and still reflected US government policy.

Ties between the two countries have eroded amid allegations - denied by Moscow - that Russian Federation tried to influence the results of the 2016 presidential election, and by differences over Venezuela, Iran, Syria and Ukraine.

The State Department said Pompeo and Putin and Lavrov would discuss "the full range of bilateral and multilateral challenges" facing the two countries. We believe that Iran should try talks instead of threats.

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.

Trump spoke with Putin by telephone on May 3, and said they discussed the possibility of a new accord limiting nuclear arms that could eventually include China in what would be a major deal between the globe's top three atomic powers.

"On some issues we may agree, on others we may disagree, but when it's in our national interests, it is our responsibility to find a way forward". "Naturally, we heard Trump's statement that he expects to meet with President Putin, including as part of their participation in the G20 summit in Osaka".

"I made clear to Foreign Minister Lavrov. that interference in American elections is unacceptable".

Pompeo said he came to Russian Federation because President Trump is "committed to improve this relationship".

He rejected criticism of the deal by top USA officials, saying it falls in line with United Nation resolutions on Iran.

Tensions have been rising lately in the Gulf, with the USA sending an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the region.

The senior official said Pompeo would be interested in hearing Putin's account of his recent meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who visited Vladivostok, Russia, last month amid an impasse in talks with the US and has since directed several ballistic missile tests.

In withdrawing from the nuclear accord, the US said the agreement did nothing to stop Iran from developing missiles or destabilizing the Middle East.

On election interference, although Trump has downplayed its significance and rejected allegations that his campaign colluded with Russian Federation to win in 2016, Pompeo said he had told Lavrov in Finland that "it's not appropriate and that we're going to do everything we can to deter it".

Pompeo's visit to Brussels means he is scrapping a stop expected on Monday in Moscow.

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