Russia's Lavrov to US: 'Mistrust hinders both your security and ours'

Moscow - By Peter Spinella,- Russia's top diplomat warned his US counterpart who was visiting Russia on Tuesday that the mistrust between the former Cold War rivals is detrimental to both sides.

"This mistrust that we have hinders both your security and ours," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi.

Pompeo was to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin later in the day, with the talks expected to focus on international issues including nuclear arms control, particularly regarding Iran and North Korea, as well the Venezuelan political crisis and the Syrian conflict.
In their initial bilateral meeting, both Lavrov and Pompeo expressed hope that Russia and the US could salvage their countries' frayed relations.
We "must rebuild trust at all levels of our dialogue," Lavrov said in televised comments. Pompeo assured he was visiting because US President Donald Trump is "committed to improving this relationship."
"We are not adversaries on every issue," Pompeo said, recalling personal experience in joint counterterrorism work with Russia that has "saved American lives and saved Russian lives."
Russia considered the Pompeo-Lavrov meeting to be the "main event," according to comments by spokesman Dmitry Peskov carried by state news agency TASS.
The subsequent meeting with Putin was to be an opportunity for Pompeo and Lavrov to present the "results of their talks and discuss those issues that are evident," Peskov was quoted as saying.
Pompeo had initially intended to come to Moscow on Monday but cancelled that leg of his journey, instead going to Brussels to meet US allies about "recent threatening actions" by Iran, the State Department said.
Iran, a Russian ally, announced last week it was partially withdrawing from a 2015 agreement intended to prevent it from building a nuclear bomb. The US had also exited the deal.
Iran's leadership suggested it would commence uranium enrichment unless crippling economic sanctions against the country were removed.
Lavrov, who met Iran's top diplomat in Moscow as the Iranian announcement was made, blamed the US for the deal falling apart, saying the "unacceptable situation" has emerged "because of the United States' irresponsible behaviour."
The US has "abandoned its commitments enshrined in the relevant UN Security Council resolution," Lavrov said at the time in comments carried by TASS.
Lavrov and Pompeo had met earlier that week in Finland on the sidelines of an Arctic Council meeting. Lavrov described their talks as constructive, according to televised comments.
Russia's Foreign Ministry expressed hope Pompeo would be ready to "inspect the wreckage" of US-Russian relations during his visit to Sochi.
"It'll be of utmost importance for us to understand whether the US administration will be ready ... to inspect the wreckage of our relations and find a way to move forward," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told the Russian news agency Interfax.
Relations between the former Cold War rivals in recent years have wallowed at their lowest point since the Soviet era as they support opposing sides in conflicts in Ukraine and Syria.
Ryabkov emphasized that improving relations was a focus of a phone call earlier this month between Putin and Trump.


Wednesday, May 15th 2019
By Peter Spinella,

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