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Lavrov, Pompeo discuss ‘issues, concerns’ about US-Russian relations

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have spoken by telephone for the first time since Pompeo was sworn into office on April 26.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the two discussed “issues and concerns” related to U.S.-Russian relations.

Nauert also said the two discussed the wars in Ukraine and Syria.

A Russian Foreign Ministry statement said the talks on Ukraine and Syria focused on efforts to settle the conflicts and “overcome the conflict in Ukraine on the basis of the Minsk Agreements” of 2015.

Nauert said Pompeo reiterated to Lavrov that Washington wants improved relations with Russia.

But she said Pompeo told Lavrov that achieving better relations “will require Russia to demonstrate that it is prepared to take concrete actions to address our concerns,” including Russian interference in “U.S. domestic matters.”

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Pompeo and Lavrov “agreed that it is necessary to work on accomplishing the objectives set in a telephone conversation between Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump.”

It said the goal should be to settle “the existing disagreements through a professional dialogue in order to normalize the environment of Russia-U.S. interaction.”

With reporting by Reuters, AP, Interfax, and TASS