Published: Tue, May 16, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

President Trump meets Russian foreign minister

President Trump meets Russian foreign minister

Lavrov said that Syria and Ukraine were discussed, while repeatedly stressing the "business like" attitude of Trump and his administration, free of the ideological bias and "dirty tricks" of Barack Obama's presidency.

Later, Ryabkov told TASS that the consultations "have helped in drawing up some issues more thoroughly and better, including the ones Minister Lavrov and State Secretary Tillerson will be considering".

"The Secretary and Foreign Minister discussed the importance of defeating ISIS [Daesh], de-escalating the violence in Syria and ensuring that humanitarian assistance reaches hundreds of thousands of civilians throughout the country", the release stated. US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley has not minced words in her criticism of Russian Federation, who have vetoed any resolutions to end the conflict in Syria eight separate times.

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman said the Kremlin had no interest in Comey's firing.

Jonathan Adelman, global affairs professor at the University of Denver, told VOA that Russian Federation has a powerful role to play in Syria but must make some decisions about its campaign there.

"We have agreed we will be working together in the format of Astana (talks) which the United States attends as an observer".

Mr Trump expressed his interest in pursuing "business-like relations" with Russian Federation, according to Mr Lavrov. He and Lavrov said they discussed the civil war in Syria, where Russian Federation backs President Bashar al-Assad.

The statement says Pence stressed America's support for Ukraine's "territorial integrity" and expressed the need to "peacefully resolve the conflict".

Asked by reporters about the Comey firing, Lavrov reacted sarcastically, saying, "Was he fired? You are kidding. You are kidding".

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Comey's congresional testimony, along with that of ex-acting Attorney General Sally Yates, reportedly ticked off President Trump. In short, the FBI's investigation could still produce evidence of collusion.

During Tillerson's visit to Moscow in April, Mitchell shouted a question to Tillerson about Russia's stance on the alleged April 4 sarin chemical gas attack by the Syrian government under Bashar al-Assad against the Syrian people.

The visit by Russia's top diplomat seems to signal a step forward in the chilly Moscow-Washington relationship.

When Lavrov arrived in Washington on Wednesday after a gap of four years, he was absolutely "shocked" to hear that Russian Federation had been accused of meddling in U.S. internal affairs.

Still, the overlap between the FBI Russia investigation and Mr Trump's diplomatic efforts could not be brushed aside.

He was also clueless about FBI director James Comey's abrupt dismissal the night before, in the midst of a multi-pronged investigation into Russian interference. So far, the probe has uncovered no evidence of to substantiate the collusion charge.

As the meeting got underway, reporters in Soschi, Russia, where Putin was playing ice hockey, asked what he thought of Comey's firing.

At his news conference Wednesday, Lavrov scoffed at a question about the possibility of Russian meddling in the US election.

Lavrov says American politicians who are raising questions about Russian interference in the 2016 election are damaging the US political system by suggesting it's being controlled by outsiders. "There is not a single fact, there is no compelling evidence given to anyone regarding Russia's intervention and that's it".

The war in Syria has forced million of refugees to flee the country, over which the United States and Russian Federation have for the first time since World War Two had flown combat missions in the same air space. We have definitely not heard the end of this.

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