Pompeo in Russia: Five Talking Points

Remigio Civitarese
Mag 15, 2019

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's first trip to Russia started off on a light note Tuesday as he and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov prepared for talks on issues such as arms control that are aimed at improving Russia-U.S. relations.

Implementation of the deal for the delivery of Russia's S-400 air defense system to Turkey is in full swing despite US pressure, Russian presidential aide Yury Ushakov said on May 14.

"If we didn't put in place assets to defend ourselves that would be negligent", Hook said.

Pompeo's talks with Lavrov are the highest-level face-to-face talks between Washington and Russia since the release of special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian election meddling.

"My meetings in Russian Federation will highlight a number of important topics", Pompeo tweeted on Tuesday.

"We'll protect our nation's interest", Pompeo said.

As well as the issue of interference in USA elections, the two sides clashed over Venezuela, with Lavrov sharply criticizing Washington for trying to undermine President Nicolas Maduro, who Pompeo said must step down in the face of an economic crisis and large-scale protests against his rule.

US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on Tuesday said his country is not seeking war with Iran, despite a spike in tensions that has seen the Pentagon dispatch nuclear-capable bombers to the region.

Putin hailed the two-year investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller that did not find collusion by the Trump campaign - but documented extensive meddling by Russian Federation, especially by manipulating social media.

"However exotic the work of special counsel Mueller was, I have to say that on the whole he has had a very objective investigation and he confirmed that there were no traces whatsoever of collusion between Russian Federation and the incumbent administration, which we said was absolutely fake", Putin said as he opened the meeting with Pompeo in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

"We heard statements by President Trump that he expected to hold a meeting with President Putin including during the G20 summit in Osaka".

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"Despite the exotic nature of Mr Mueller's commission, on the whole he conducted quite an objective investigation and confirmed the absence of any collusion between the USA administration and Russia", Putin said.

Hook made the remarks after The New York Times newspaper reported that the White House is reviewing military plans that could see the deployment of up to 120,000 troops to the Middle East should Iran attack USA forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons.

Amid growing concerns of a conflict between the United States and Iran, U.S. officials have told their European allies that its military buildup in the Persian Gulf region is a "defensive" move in response to multiple threats coming out of Iran.

"Most of all we must make sure we don't end up putting Iran back on the path to re-nuclearisation, because if Iran becomes a nuclear power its neighbours are likely to want to become nuclear powers", Hunt said. But Putin's aide Yuri Ushakov said they did not touch on Ukraine, where Russia's backing of separatist rebels have prompted U.S. sanctions.

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