Putin says Trump phone call signals intent to rebuild relations

US aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in the Suez Canal

US aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in the Suez Canal

On Iran, Venezuela, and Russian interference in United States elections, Pompeo and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov voiced sharp disagreement at a joint news conference.

Pompeo was to head to the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi on Tuesday to meet President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, a State Department official said.

"There are things that Russian Federation can do to demonstrate that those kinds of activities are a thing of the past, " Pompeo said.

Ushakov, the foreign policy aide, said Pompeo didn't raise issue with Putin, though it was part of the secretary's talks with Lavrov.

Kim used the occasion to accuse the United States of acting in "bad faith" after his second summit with President Donald Trump ended in stalemate in Hanoi.

In a key point of contention, Pompeo has rebuffed demands from North Korea, which has the backing of Russian Federation and China, for an early lifting of sanctions before a final deal.

Pompeo - who like most of the U.S. political class, with the major exception of President Donald Trump, has been outspoken in his criticism of Putin - said that the two countries found areas on which to cooperate, and voiced optimism in breaking a deadlock on Syria.

But he added: "We have also made clear to the Iranians that if American interests are attacked, we will most certainly respond in an appropriate fashion".

In a striking bit of counterprogramming, Putin examined a new hypersonic, nuclear-capable missile system at a southern Russian defense plant before his meeting with Pompeo.

Pompeo said that he and Putin agreed on ways to move ahead with a long-delayed Syrian-led committee that will rewrite the constitution in hopes of a political end to the conflict.

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov earlier Tuesday slammed what he called Washington's "maximum pressure" campaign on Iran, saying it would only drive Tehran into a corner. Still, his claim of vindication covered only allegations that Russian Federation and the Trump campaign colluded to hurt Hillary Clinton's candidacy.

Pompeo's visit represents the first high-level contact between Moscow and Washington since U.S. Special Counsel Robert Muller submitted a report examining the nature of Russia's role in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. "We also would like to rebuild fully fledged relations, and I hope that right now a conducive environment is being built for that". "Russia is not a fire brigade", Putin said.

The US administration has kept up a campaign of pressure including sanctions on Russian Federation over the alleged election meddling and Moscow's support for armed separatists in Ukraine.

But Lavrov flatly rejected the request, denouncing U.S. and opposition "threats" against the Maduro government.

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