Lavrov proposes mending Russia-U.S. ties at meeting with Pompeo

Source: Xinhua| 2019-05-15 03:50:51|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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SOCHI, Russia, May 14 (Xinhua) -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov offered to repair Russia-U.S. relations at a meeting here on Tuesday with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

At a joint press conference following talks with Pompeo, Lavrov said he suggested creating a non-governmental expert council of political analysts, former military officers and diplomats, and insiders in bilateral relations.

He expected the experts' "look from aside" to help overcome accumulated suspicions, interpret correctly each other's steps in national defense, and build up normal and stable cooperation between Russia and the United States.

Lavrov also proposed creating a business council of representatives of large private businesses from both countries so that the governments can seek opinions from them to form comfortable conditions for mutually beneficial economic cooperation.

"We have handed to the Secretary of State a memorandum with our proposals and hope that our ideas will be considered by Washington," Lavrov said.

In addition to bilateral relations, Lavrov and Pompeo also discussed Venezuela, the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, Syria, Ukraine, Afghanistan and the Iran nuclear deal.

"I hope that the visit of Mike Pompeo will not only contribute to an improvement in the Russia-U.S. relations, but also help us advance by small yet real steps towards solving practical problems concerning bilateral ties as well as regional and global issues," Lavrov said.

Pompeo said that U.S. sanctions against Russia will remain in force as the United States does not recognize Crimea as part of Russia, and Washington wants Moscow to extend a hand to the new Ukrainian leadership to find a way out.

The United States will continue to exert pressure on Iran but it does not seek a war, he said, adding that Washington, however, will respond accordingly if U.S. interests are under threat.

Pompeo urged Russia to stop supporting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, and said Washington will continue dialogue with Moscow on this issue.