Putin and Pompeo push to repair ties

World | REUTERS 16 May 2019

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Russia that Washington would brook no interference in the 2020 US presidential election and wanted Moscow to take action to show there would be no repeat of its suspected 2016 meddling.

President Vladimir Putin, who met Pompeo in Sochi, pushed back, telling him that Russia never interfered in American elections and that a report by US Special Counsel Robert Mueller had found no evidence of collusion with President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign.

Relations have long been strained by US intelligence and law enforcement findings that Russia tried to influence the results of the 2016 election.

Pompeo's visit followed the publication of a report by Mueller into the nature of Russia's role in that election that spoke of sweeping and systematic interference by Moscow but did not establish that members of Trump's campaign conspired with Russia.

Now that the Mueller report was out of the way, Putin said he hoped ties would start improving.

"I've formed the impression that your president wants to repair Russia-US ties and contacts and wants to solve issues which are of common interest for us," Putin told Pompeo.

"I hope that the necessary conditions for that to happen will now be created."

Pompeo earlier clashed with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on issues from Ukraine to Venezuela. After their meeting, both men said they had been far apart on many issues.

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