Lavrov meets Trump at White House – Russian Foreign Ministry
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s meeting with US President Donald Trump has begun at the White House as part of his three-day trip to the US, Russia’s Foreign Ministry has confirmed. The meeting comes after Lavrov’s discussions with US counterpart Rex Tillerson.
Lavrov will discuss cooperation between the two countries in combating terrorism, as well as the issues touched on by President Vladimir Putin and Trump during their recent telephone conversation, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday.
The closed door meeting started at 10:30am in the Oval Office, according to the White House. Lavrov arrived in the US late Tuesday on a two-day working visit which include talks with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Lavrov and Tillerson shook hands in front of reporters before the start of their meeting.
“I want to welcome Foreign Minister Lavrov to the State Department and express my appreciation for him making the trip to Washington so we could continue our dialogue and our exchange of views that began in Moscow on a very broad range of topics,” Tillerson said.
One reporter asked the Russian foreign minister to comment on the firing of FBI Director James Comey.
“Was he fired? You’re kidding!” Lavrov said, leaving the room.
The encounter will be one of the highest-level contacts between Trump and the Russian government since the Republican took office in January. Earlier, a senior US official speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that the agenda of the Trump-Lavrov meeting would entail Syria as well as US-Russian relations and other global issues.
Tillerson visited Russia on April 12 and held talks with both Lavrov and President Vladimir Putin, with Trump saying the Secretary of State had done “tremendous work” in Moscow.
In late April, Putin noted that Trump had so far failed to make good on his campaign promises to seek better relations with Russia, adding that the level of trust between Moscow and Washington has even “degraded” since Obama left office.
However, last week, Trump and Putin spoke by phone where among other things they discussed the ongoing Syrian conflict.