00:06 GMT +327 April 2018
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    A handout photo made available by the Russian Foreign Ministry on May 10, 2017 shows US President Donald J. Trump (L) posing with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during a meeting at the White House in Washington, DC.

    Kremlin Expresses 'Cautious Optimism' After Lavrov's Talks With Trump, Tillerson

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    The Kremlin spokesman expressed "cautious optimism" after the Russian foreign minister's talks with the US secretary of state and President Donald Trump.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — It is too early to draw conclusions of a possible thaw in Russian-US relations but the fact that dialogue is being conducted is positive in itself, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday.

    "It is too early to draw any conclusions. Of course, the very fact that dialogue is conducted is very positive," Peskov told reporters when asked to assess Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's visit to Washington on Wednesday.

    Recounting three phone calls between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump in addition to Lavrov's and US State Secretary Rex Tillerson's mutual visits, Peskov urged "cautious optimism, because a lot of work awaits us ahead."

    "We are guided by the fact that the two presidents will be at the G20 in Hamburg at the same time, it can be a good occasion for their meeting," Peskov said.

    On Wednesday, Lavrov held meetings with Tillerson and Trump in Washington and said that the Russian and US presidents would hold a meeting during the G20 summit.

    On May 2, Putin and Trump held a phone conversation and spoke in favor of organizing a personal meeting on the sidelines of the Hamburg summit, which will take place on July 7-8.

    Peskov rejected the assumption that there is any connection between the possible replacement of the Russian ambassador in the United States and the dismissal of FBI Director James Comey.

    "We do not announce personnel changes, if and when relevant decrees are signed by the president, we will inform you about it," Peskov told reporters.

    Asked whether the situation looks like an exchange: US President Donald Trump dismisses the FBI director, who was investigating his alleged ties with Russia, and Moscow replaces Ambassador to the US Sergei Kislyak, Peskov said: "No, it does not look like it. We do not conduct any exchanges of our ambassadors."

    On May 9, the FBI director was fired because, according to the administration of US President Donald Trump, he mishandled the probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her term as Secretary of State. Trump fired Comey based on the recommendation of both Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

    Trump scolded Comey in a letter announcing his dismissal, stating, "You are not able to effectively lead" the FBI. As such, a change in leadership was necessary to rebuild trust between the White House and law enforcement.


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