Trump: Meeting with Russian FM Lavrov was ‘very good’
US President Donald Trump has met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the White House. The US leader said the meeting with Russia’s top diplomat – the first in his presidency – was “very good.”
Lavrov and Trump talked for 40 minutes on Wednesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry told TASS.
The situation in Syria was among the topics discussed at the meeting, which is part of Lavrov’s three-day trip to the US.
The two reiterated their countries’ commitment to ending the war in the Middle Eastern country. Everyone is working to end the “horrible killing” in Syria, Trump said following the meeting.
Discussions with the US president focused on the de-escalation zone plans put forward by Lavrov’s US counterpart Rex Tillerson earlier in the day, Lavrov told reporters in Washington.
“President Trump emphasized the need to work together to end the conflict in Syria, in particular, underscoring the need for Russia to rein in the Assad regime, Iran, and Iranian proxies,” the White House said in a statement following the meeting.
The Ukrainian conflict, as well as “broader cooperation on resolving conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere” were also on the agenda, the White House said, adding that Trump “further emphasized his desire to build a better relationship” between Washington and Moscow.
Relations between the two nations and cooperation in the international arena were at the top of the agenda. Despite tensions, Moscow and Washington can opt for joint efforts in solving global problems, the Russian diplomat said, adding that Trump expressed his hopes for “mutually beneficial” relations with Russia.
During the meeting between Lavrov and the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson earlier in the day, both men reiterated that progress in the fulfillment of the Minsk peace agreements on Ukraine was imperative, the State Department said in a statement. The two diplomats also discussed the Syrian crisis and "restated support for the UN-led political process" to resolve the conflict, it added.
Commenting on his meeting with Lavrov, Trump also said the talks had not been affected by the recent firing of FBI Director James Comey.
Earlier on Wednesday, journalists gathered at the White House ahead of the Lavrov-Tillerson meeting bombarded the two with questions as they posed for photos. One of the questions was whether the recently announced dismissal of the FBI chief would mar negotiations between the two diplomats.
Trump’s meeting with Lavrov on Wednesday is one of the highest-level contacts between the 45th US president and the Russian government since Trump took office in January. The US secretary of state made a similar visit to Russia in April, when Tillerson held talks with both Lavrov and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
So far, Trump has only spoken on the phone with his Russian counterpart. The first face-to-face talks of the Russian and US presidents must be well prepared in order to yield concrete results, Lavrov said ahead of his visit to Washington.
During one of the phone calls, the two leaders are believed to have spoken in favor of holding their much anticipated first meeting sometime around the G20 summit, which is scheduled to take place in Hamburg, Germany on July 7 and 8.