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Arms control to be top priority during Pompeo’s visit to Russia

"The Secretary will also talk about the challenges in our bilateral relationship with Russia," a senior State Department official added

WASHINGTON, May 10. /TASS/. The arms control issue will be high on the agenda during US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to Moscow and Sochi on May 13-14, a senior State Department official said at a teleconference for journalists on Friday.

"An issue high on the agenda for their discussions will be arms control. [US] President Trump has made clear that he wants arms control agreements that reflect modern reality. These agreements must include a broader range of countries and account for a broader range of weapon systems than our current bilateral treaties with Russia. There will be a full range of global challenges to discuss, including Ukraine, Venezuela, Iran, Syria, and North Korea.," he said.

"The Secretary will also talk about the challenges in our bilateral relationship with Russia," he added.

"This is the work of diplomacy: showing up, having frank discussions, and working to find areas where we can cooperate," the official said.

"We are not going to solve these issues (which Russia and the United States have disagreements on - TASS) overnight, but we are going to have - we have to be engaging to create opportunities for progress," the US diplomat stressed.

"We have open channels of communication on a range of key issues - like Afghanistan, North Korea, and counterterrorism - where engagement with Russia can advance US interests," he continued.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that Lavrov and Pompeo would discuss bilateral relations, Venezuela, Syria and Ukraine during the visit of US Secretary of State to Russia.

The two top diplomats agreed to hold talks in Sochi while meeting on the sidelines of the Arctic Council in Rovaniemi, Finland, on May 6. According to Lavrov, he and Pompeo managed to get ahead after the May 3 phone talks between Russian and US Presidents, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, requested by Washington.

The Kremlin has not ruled a meeting between Pompeo and Putin in Sochi.