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Tillerson confirms US ready to solve its problems with Russia — Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has held first meeting in Bonn
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov Alexander Shcherbak/TASS
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
© Alexander Shcherbak/TASS

BONN, February 16. /TASS/. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has confirmed President Donald Trump’s readiness to resolve problems in relations with Russia, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday.

"We have discussed the situation in bilateral relations, which were seriously undermined by the Obama administration," Lavrov said after his first meeting with Tillerson.

"Tillerson has confirmed readiness to overcome this period expressed by President Trump during the phone talks with President Putin," he added.

According to the Russian top diplomat, sanctions were not discussed at the meeting. "No, the issue of sanctions was not discussed. We do not discuss sanctions," Lavrov said.

"We assume this is an anomaly and those having resorted to sanctions should assess for themselves the extent of their efficiency, the extent of their correspondence to normal communication between states, and the extent to which an artificial aspiration to politicize a certain topic meets interests of the states doing so," the Russian minister said.

Putin-Trump meeting

A meeting of Russian and US Presidents Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump will take place as soon as both leaders deem it possible, Lavrov added. 

"We’ll proceed from the fact that the meeting of President Putin and President Trump will take place when the presidents deem it possible,’ the foreign minister said.

"We have agreed that we’ll continue contacts and we’ll have a whole number of possibilities in the next few months," Russia’s top diplomat said.

Conflict in Ukraine

Tillerson said Washington is ready to seek new common ground for cooperation with Moscow, Reuters reported on Thursday.

"As we search for new common ground we expect Russia to honor its commitment to the Minsk agreements and work to de-escalate violence in Ukraine," Tillerson said after meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.

The Russian top diplomat confirmed the US wants to join conflict resolution, including the Ukraine crisis. 

"As soon as the State Department and other departments form a team to tackle these issues we will be ready to establish relevant contacts," Lavrov added.

"We have common understanding that in those areas where our interests coincide, and there are a lot of them, we must go forward, demonstrate the United States’ and Russia’s ability to play the role they are assigned on the global arena," Lavrov stressed.

Syrian crisis

The Russian top diplomat said Tillerson is ready to support intra-Syrian process in Astana. 

"Tillerson expressed readiness to support this process [talks on Syrian settlement in Astana - TASS]," he said.

According to the Russian top diplomat it was a productive meeting. "We reiterated that we have common, coinciding interests, first of all, in what concerns resolute struggle against terrorism, in this context and in the context of political settlements and in what concerns cooperation on the Syrian crisis, on other countries of the region where terrorism has taken root," he said.

The Russian top diplomat reminded that the U.S. ambassador to Kazakhstan had taken part in the international meeting on Syria in Astana as an observer. "We referred an invitation for the United States to Washington," Lavrov said. "But in a period of forming a new administration, staffing State Department divisions dealing with the Syrian settlement Washington opted to second their ambassador to Kazakhstan to take part in these meetings."