It was time for Moscow and Washington to put aside years of mistrust, and find a way to work together constructively, said Russia’s foreign minister to his US counterpart, on Tuesday May 14th.
Secretary of state Mike Pompeo is in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi for talks with foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, and later on Tuesday May 14th he will also hold consultations with Russian president Vladimir Putin, according to Reuters.
Ties between the two countries have been poisoned by allegations that Russia tried to influence the results of the 2016 US presidential election, and by differences over Venezuela, Iran, Syria and Ukraine.
Lavrov told Pompeo at the start of their talks: "we see that there are suspicions and prejudices. This hinders both your security and our security and causes concern around the world. We think it is time to build a new and more constructive matrix for our relations."
Pompeo's visit represents the first high-level contact between Moscow and Washington since US special counsel Robert Muller submitted a report examining the nature of Russia's role in the 2016 US presidential election.
His inquiry had cast a pall over US-Russian relations, and Russian officials had expressed the hope that Washington would have more scope to build friendlier relations with Moscow once it was out of the way.
Pompeo said: "I'm here today because President Trump is committed to improving this relationship. We have differences and each country will protect its own interests, look out for its own interests of its people," he said, responding to Lavrov's opening remarks.
"But it's not destined that we're adversaries on all issues and I hope that we can find places where we have a set of overlapping interests and continue to build out strong relationships, at least on those particular issues," Pompeo added.
Pompeo identified counter-terrorism and combatting nuclear proliferation as two areas where Moscow and Washington could find common ground to work together.