President Donald Trump stressed the need for better relations with Russia during his election campaign, raising worries in Ukraine that his administration would not stand up to Russian aggression.
Trump and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met in private, though both sides cast the session as a sign of ties having improved since the USA leader's assessment of them last month as at an "all-time low".
"He chose to receive him because Putin asked him to", a White House spokesman told the outlet of Trump's meeting with Lavrov.
Tillerson and Lavrov are meeting at the State Department, and then Lavrov heads to the White House to see President Donald Trump.
Detailing his talks with the U.S. officials Lavrov said, "Today, Rex and I discussed the ways to advance the agenda, which includes the Syrian issue, so that we could come up with some tangible decisions before the presidents meet".
He also made scornful reference to former President Obama, saying that by contrast, Trump and his associates were "people of action".
Moscow has denied interference in the election, and the Trump administration denies allegations of collusion with Russian Federation. Also, Trump has expressed desire to improve ties with Russian Federation. The last time Lavrov visited the American capital was before Russian Federation annexed Crimea from Ukraine and intervened militarily in Syria to help President Bashar Assad - actions that fueled U.S.
Tillerson and Lavrov made a brief appearance Wednesday morning for a photo-op, and as Tillerson began to lead his guest back behind closed doors, Lavrov responded to a question about Comey's firing.
The photos were Russian. The meeting hadn't been listed on the president's official schedule.
"I think that the firing was all about the Russian Federation investigation", he continued.
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"Thank you", Lavrov said.
In a letter to Comey, Trump said, "it is essential that we find new leadership for the Federal Bureau of Investigation that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission".
Trump said it was "an honor" to meet with Kissinger, whom he described as "a friend of mine for a long time".
Comey's firing has cast a cloud over the future of the FBI's inquiry into Russia's interference in last year's presidential election.
Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe said President Donald Trump hasn't made any effort to impede the investigation into possible ties between his campaign and Russian Federation - but a top House Democrat disagrees.
Russian Federation brokered a deal for de-escalation zones with backing from Iran and Syrian opposition supporter Turkey during ceasefire talks in the Kazakh capital Astana last week. "He said: 'You are not under investigation'".
Diplomatically, Lavrov said he would keep the button on his desk.
"They tricked us", an angry White House official said.
Tillerson says his meeting with Lavrov is a chance for the two diplomats to "continue our dialogue" and "exchange of views" that they started last month in Moscow.
Moscow wants the elimination of those and election-related sanctions imposed by Obama.
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