Iran, Syria situation and Russian election meddling discussed during Pompeo-Lavrov meeting

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo holds press conference with Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Washington. (Reuters)
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Updated 10 December 2019

Iran, Syria situation and Russian election meddling discussed during Pompeo-Lavrov meeting

WASHINGTON: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held wide-ranging talks with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday, which included disputes over arms control agreements, Ukraine, Syria and Venezuela as well as allegations of foreign interference in American elections.

Counter-terroism, narcotics and the situation in Afghanistan were also discussed during the meeting between the two.

Iran's nuclear deal also came up, with Lavrov saying in the post-meeting press conference that Russia would do everything in its power to maintain Iran's nuclear deal, adding he wanted to maintain safety of navigation in the Arabian Gulf.

Lavrov also said that Palestinian-Israel peace efforts appeared to be stalling and were now in "critical condition."

Pompeo was keen to stress that any foreign interference in American elections was “unacceptable" and warned Russia and others that the Trump administration will protect the integrity of the vote.

Before meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House, Lavrov repeated Russian denials of interference in the 2016 presidential election. He said the conclusion by the US intelligence community that Russia intervened in favor of Trump was “baseless.”

Lavrov's visit to Washington, his first since May 2017, was overshadowed by the introduction of Ukraine-related impeachment articles by the House and Trump's complaints about an internal Justice Department watchdog's finding that the FBI was justified in opening an investigation into ties between Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and Russia.

The two matters threatened to dwarf the diplomacy, which both sides had hoped could lead to an improvement in relations between Washington and Moscow. Lavrov and Pompeo noted cooperation in counterterrorism and anti-narcotics efforts that has continued despite the tensions and expressed hope that shared goals for North Korea and Iran could be realized.

 


Amazon indigenous leaders accuse Brazil of ‘genocide’ policy

Updated 18 January 2020

Amazon indigenous leaders accuse Brazil of ‘genocide’ policy

  • Hundreds of elders gathered this week at Pairacu, deep in the rainforest, to form a united front against Bolsonaro’s environmental policies
  • “We do not accept mining on our lands, loggers, illegal fishermen or hydroelectricity. We are opposed to anything that destroys the forest,” a leader said

PIARACU: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s pledge to open up the Amazon to mining companies was tantamount to “genocide,” indigenous leaders said Friday at a meeting to oppose the government’s environmental policies.
Hundreds of elders gathered this week at Pairacu, deep in the rainforest, to form a united front against Bolsonaro’s environmental policies, which have seen deforestation in the jungle nearly double since the Brazilian leader came to power a year ago.
“Our aim was to join forces and denounce the fact that the Brazilian government’s political policy of genocide, ethnocide and ecocide is under way,” the group said in a draft manifesto drawn up at the end of the summit.
“We do not accept mining on our lands, loggers, illegal fishermen or hydroelectricity. We are opposed to anything that destroys the forest,” the text said.
They also said that “government threats and hate speech” had encouraged violence against Amazon communities and demanded punishment for the murder of indigenous leaders.
At least eight indigenous leaders were killed last year.
Brazil’s leading indigenous chief, Raoni Metuktire, said Thursday he would personally travel to the capital Brasilia to present the meeting’s demands to Congress.
“Over there, I’m going to ask Bolsonaro why he speaks so badly about the indigenous peoples,” said the 89-year-old leader of the Kayapo tribe.
Preliminary data collected by the National Institute for Space Research showed an 85 percent increase in Amazon deforestation last year when compared to 2018.