Lavrov calls to settle North Korean issue through dialogue

09 August 2017, 12:09 | Isaac Mcdaniel

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

The Trump administration is preparing a response to Moscow's demands that the USA drastically cut its diplomatic presence in Russia, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters Monday.

In their meeting, Lavrov said, Tillerson agreed to continue a dialogue between U.S. Undersecretary of State Thomas Shannon and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov. "We gave these explanations", Lavrov said.

The meeting was the first between the two since the sanctions were signed into law by Trump.

On August 3, U.S. President Donald Trump said on Twitter that Washington's "relationship with Russian Federation is at an all-time & very risky low".

Since then though, Trump's Russian Federation agenda has been bogged down in allegations that Moscow helped him get elected, and a backlash from Congress that resulted last week in the United States imposing a new set of sanctions on Moscow.

They are also likely to discuss the timing of the next round of security talks involving the two countries' foreign and defense ministers, which sources familiar with Japan-U.S. relations said earlier are being arranging for around August 17.

Still, Russian officials and people close to them - who all spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject - say that half a year into the Trump presidency, they now see events in Washington as more of an exotic sideshow than an existential threat.

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The sanctions are also aimed at stopping Russian Federation from meddling in USA elections, but Moscow denies ever doing this.

"We simply have to find some way to deal with that", Tillerson said.

In a harsh readout of the Tillerson-Lavrov meeting on Sunday, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the sanctions bill "could jeopardize global stability and deals a powerful blow to prospects for bilateral cooperation". "We aim to boost our relations with the region".

Still, the Kremlin and the White House will try to move past the hurdles to work together on Syria and Ukraine. Discussions are also continuing on expanding the U.S. During a photo-op before their meeting, Tillerson and Lavrov shared smiles and some pleasantries, but both ignored a question on how the new sanctions will impact their talks. Ryabkov said that he was disappointed in the behavior and policy of the administration of President Donald Trump, which follows the worst line of his predecessor, Barack Obama, and intensifies stances that affected bilateral ties previously. "Unsurprisingly, Russia can not simply ignore action of this kind, including the unlawful seizure of Russian diplomatic property since December a year ago".

Washington sent Volker to Ukraine last month to assess the situation in the ex-Soviet republic, where a 2015 ceasefire between Kiev's forces and Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country is regularly violated.

"The other is to call for the resumption of the six-party talks, emphasizing the peaceful settlement of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue by diplomatic and political means so as to avoid further escalation of the tension", Wang said, in a statement released by the Chinese foreign ministry. "It is regrettable that the law on sanctions against Russian Federation has come into effect in the United States".

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