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.