Published: Fri, May 12, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Trump to meet Russia's Lavrov in DC

Trump to meet Russia's Lavrov in DC

The White House declared the meeting with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to be closed press, meaning that reporters couldn't attend and cover independently.

Earlier Wednesday, Lavrov met with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who said the get-together was a chance for the two to "continue our dialogue" and "exchange of views" that they started last month in Moscow.

While not unprecedented, it is a rare privilege for a foreign minister to be received by a USA president for a bilateral meeting in the White House.

"The Russians had it all out globally while the White House press corps was kept out", Mitchell said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry tweeted a photo of Trump and Lavrov shaking hands in the Oval Office, and another of Trump and Kislyak.

Since the end of Obama's presidency in January, the United States has gradually withdrawn from the diplomatic process, leaving Russian Federation to take the lead.

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

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President Trump hosted Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the White House on Wednesday, one day after firing the man whose agency is investigating Russia's meddling in the 2016 election that brought Trump to power.

Yet Trump's stunning decision on the eve of the meeting to fire the FBI director overseeing a Russia-related investigation injected further intrigue into Lavrov's first visit to Washington since 2013. Whether there was any official collusion or not, Donald Trump certainly signed up to be a partner in that plan.

The only photographers in the room were the official White House photographer and a photographer from Tass, a state-run news agency.

"President Trump clearly confirmed his interest in building mutually beneficial, business-like pragmatic relations", he told journalists.

Tillerson and Lavrov made a brief appearance Wednesday morning for a photo-op, and as Tillerson began to lead his guest back behind closed doors, Lavrov responded to a question about Comey's firing. -Russian relations and diplomatic wrangling going on over a Moscow-backed deal to stabilize Syria. The U.S. isn't a part of that agreement, and has had concerns about the United Nations process being circumvented.

Tillerson's office said his talks with Lavrov would focus on "Ukraine, Syria, and bilateral issues".

Nauert says the leaders also discussed the fight against the Islamic State group in Syria.

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In his earlier meeting with Lavrov, Tillerson emphasized the US wouldn't lift sanctions on Russian Federation related to Ukraine until Moscow reverses the actions that triggered the punishment - namely, its Crimea annexation.

The Russian diplomat steadfastly refused to weigh in on Trump's decision to fire James Comey, the former FBI director, who had been overseeing investigations of alleged Russian interference in the US election and possible collusion by Trump's campaign.

Russian Federation brokered a deal for de-escalation zones with backing from Iran and Syrian opposition supporter Turkey during ceasefire talks in the Kazakh capital Astana last week.

Lavrov is speaking in Washington after meeting with President Donald Trump.

"We believe the U.S.is really interested in that", Lavrov said, acknowledged details of the plan still needed to be worked out.

But Lavrov said he detected a US willingness to participate, especially with a zone being formed in Syria's south, near the border with Israel and Jordan.

But Lavrov says the countries must work out who will control security around the safe zones. The U.S. isn't party to the deal and has reacted cautiously, especially given its misgivings about Iran's role. Lavrov called it a US decision, echoing Putin, who said Russian Federation had nothing to do with Comey's dismissal.

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Lavrov notes that Trump dismisses the matter as "false news".

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