U.S.-Russia Talks Expose Deep Fissures, Regardless of Hopes for Higher Ties

MOSCOW — Russia and the USA stay far aside on Iran, Venezuela, Ukraine, North Korea and election interference, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Sergey V. Lavrov, the Russian international minister, made clear Tuesday at a information convention forward of a gathering with President Vladimir V. Putin.

Within the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, each Mr. Lavrov and Mr. Pompeo described their dialogue as “frank,” usually diplomat-speak to explain disagreements verging on testy, and so they bemoaned the state of affairs between the 2 nations. “It’s clear that our relationships have seen higher instances,” Mr. Lavrov stated.

Mr. Pompeo had some significantly sharp phrases on Russia’s election meddling, telling his counterpart that “interference in American elections is unacceptable, and if the Russians had been engaged in that in 2020 it will put our relationship in a fair worse place than it has been.”

A lot of the world’s consideration is riveted presently on the Persian Gulf area, the place the Trump administration is pressuring Iran with harsh financial sanctions and navy deployments, and the place mysterious assaults have been reported this week on the oil tankers and a pipeline of Iran’s nice rival, Saudi Arabia, elevating fears of a coming violent battle.

However at the least publicly, Mr. Lavrov and Mr. Pompeo appeared that Iran was not on the high of their agenda, and most of their remarks on it handled the 2015 nuclear deal that the USA has withdrawn from however that Russia and different powers nonetheless help.

“We’re searching for Iran to behave like a standard nation,” Mr. Pompeo stated, one that doesn’t sponsor terrorism and assassinations and develop offensive weapons. “We basically don’t search a warfare with Iran.”

Mr. Pompeo, making his first go to to Russia as secretary of state, addressed this week’s occasions close to the Persian Gulf solely briefly, and in response to a direct query from a reporter.

“I don’t have any info that I can share with you but in regards to the nature of what passed off there,” he stated. “We’re working diligently to get solutions to what induced these ships to have the issues that they’ve right now.”

Mr. Lavrov indignantly denied, as soon as once more, that Russia had meddled within the 2016 American election and stated he hoped the difficulty was fading into “the previous.”

Greater than that, he added, he anticipated the publication of the report by the particular counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, to clear the way in which for Russian-American cooperation. “Passions will subside,” he stated.

Mr. Pompeo stated he was in search of to meet President Trump’s intention to enhance Russian-American ties. The diplomats spoke at some size about disputes which have been on a sluggish boil in current months, on which they’ve discovered themselves on reverse sides, together with Iran and the disaster in Venezuela.

The 2 additionally raised the opportunity of opening negotiations on extending the one remaining nuclear treaty between Moscow and Washington, referred to as New Begin, which limits the variety of intercontinental missiles, warheads and heavy bombers every can have. The Trump administration’s suspension of an intermediate-range missile treaty, and Mr. Putin’s withdrawal in response, had referred to as into doubt the prospects for extending New Begin, which is ready to run out in 2021.

The West tends responsible tensions with Russia on Moscow’s makes an attempt to destabilize its rivals, undermine democracies and alliances and increase its affect. Mr. Lavrov had an easier clarification for the poor state of relations with Washington: the “anti-Russian sentiment” of the Obama administration, although issues haven’t noticeably improved in additional than two years below President Trump.

“There’s a potential for mutually helpful higher cooperation, and that continues to be untapped,” he stated.

There had been hypothesis that the 2 sides might announce one other summit assembly between Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin, however the officers stated that nothing had been determined.

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