MOSCOW, March 15. /TASS/. Moscow does not plan to build contacts with Mike Pompeo until he is approved as US secretary of state, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told TASS, commenting on US President Donald Trump’s decision to replace the secretary of state.
"Appointments of senior administration officials need to be approved by the Senate, after which the newly appointed are sworn in," Ryabkov pointed out. "I think we can’t consider any contacts until all the stages of the process are completed," he added.
Moscow is not ready to offer new dates for consultations with US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon amid the expansion of sanctions, according to Ryabkov.
"We are not ready to come up with new dates, it would be particularly strange given today’s expansion of the US sanctions lists," the senior Russian diplomat said.
Shannon said earlier that Washington is prepared to agree with Russia a new date and venue for another round of talks over strategic stability and ways of eliminating annoyances in bilateral relations. Washington is waiting for Moscow’s proposals on that score, US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Thomas Shannon, told TASS on Wednesday.
"The short answer is yes. I was disappointed that we were unable to do the talks in Vienna. I would've been there today. But we are very open to rescheduling the talks and we look forward to hearing from our Russian friends so we can hold the talks," Shannon said.
At the same time he refrained from mentioning any preferable dates when such talks might be held.
"We will wait for my counterpart Deputy Minister Ryabkov. He will make a recommendation and we evaluate it. The same agenda as always," he added.
On March 13, Trump announced a large-scale staff reshuffle, firing Tillerson as secretary of state and nominating Pompeo to replace him. At the same time, he nominated Gina Haspel to become the first female CIA chief.
On the same day, Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Steven Goldstein was also sacked.