Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov praises Trump and Tillerson after talks

Russian and the US are looking to "remove all the barriers" to having a better relationship, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said.

He said he thought Moscow's relations with the current administration would be better than with the previous one.

Mr Lavrov was speaking after talks in Washington with President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

The meetings came a day after the US president fired FBI director James Comey.

Mr Comey was leading an investigation into alleged Russian interference in last year's US election.
Clearly impatient with journalists' repeated questions about Mr Comey, Mr Lavrov rejected claims that Moscow had intervened in the presidential election as "fabrications".

A key topic of conversation at the meetings was the war in Syria, in particular a Russian plan to create "safe zones". Mr Lavrov praised the talks with Mr Trump and Mr Tillerson as "constructive".

The US administration has broadly welcomed the Russian plan, but has expressed wariness about Moscow's support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and the role of Iran - and Iranian proxy forces - in the country.

US officials say they need to hear more about who would patrol the proposed zones, and how they would be enforced.

Mr Lavrov told journalists: "I would say that our dialogue as of now is free from ideology that was very typical for [Barack] Obama's administration.

"Both Mr Trump and the secretary of state of his administration, as I realised today once again, are businesslike people and they want to reach agreements.

"The goal of both President Trump and [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin is to have concrete results which will be tangible and which will allow us to alleviate problems, including on the international agenda."

Mr Lavrov met Mr Trump in the Oval Office, the president's inner sanctum in the White House - a rare invite for a non-leader of a foreign country.

Mr Trump told reporters he had had a "very, very good meeting" with Mr Lavrov, with progress made on the issue of Syria.

"We're going to stop the killing and the death," he added.

Sergei Lavrov (L) and Rex Tillerson

Earlier, when Mr Lavrov arrived at the State Department to meet Mr Tillerson, he made a joke about Mr Comey's firing amid shouted questions from reporters.

"Was he fired?... You're kidding, you're kidding!" he said.

BBC    News.