05:26 GMT29 January 2020
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    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held a meeting in the US capital, Washington, DC on Tuesday. During the meeting, the officials discussed the most important issues: arms control, trade, domestic affairs and others.

    Arms Control

    The Russian foreign minister urged the United States to submit arms control proposals in concrete form to improve cooperation on the matter.

    "It will be easier, possibly for us and for other people who the US have in mind, to put this [arms control conditions] on paper for it to be formulated and worded in some way," Lavrov said.

    The Russian foreign minister also said that he had reconfirmed Russia's position that it is prepared to extend the New START Treaty.

    "Russia has reconfirmed it's offer, [we] are ready now to make the decision to extend this treaty," Lavrov said.

    Sergei Lavrov said that Russia is ready to refrain from deploying intermediate-range missiles as long as the United States reciprocates.

    "[Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin in his letters to major countries, including the United States, including other NATO members, said that Russia had declared a unilateral moratorium on the deployment of such missiles and they would not be deployed until and in those regions until there would appear similar American-made systems," Lavrov told reporters. "A proposal was made to our Western partners, including the United States, that such a moratorium become mutual. It remains on the table."

    The US secretary of state said that he had discussed the issue of arms control between both countries, as well as with China, with Foreign Minister Lavrov.

    "President [Donald] Trump, too, is eager to pursue arms control with Russia and with China, we talked about that at great length today," Pompeo said.

    The United States is ready to consider including France and the UK, not just China, in the nuclear arms control framework, Pompeo said.

    "Foreign Minister Lavrov suggested France and the United Kingdom join as well. We are happy to consider that too," Pompeo told reporters.

    Denuclearization of North Korea

    The Russian foreign minister said that Moscow is prepared to help facilitate the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

    "We believe that in order to get out of this impasse, it is necessary to move forward with the reciprocal measures, measure for measure," Lavrov said. "We are prepared to actively aid on this track in order to overcome the current situation."

    The US secretary of state said he and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov discussed North Korea and agreed that both sides have a joint objective to see Pyongyang carry out denuclearization.

    "Today, too, we agreed on the final, fully, verified denuclearization of North Korea as our joint objective," Pompeo said. "I raised the importance of sanctions enforcement with Foreign Minister Lavrov."


    Lavrov said that trade between Russia and the United States has increased roughly by 30 percent during the Trump administration and now stands at $27 billion.

    "Despite the sanctions, that, as it is well known, did not benefit anyone, trade during President Trump's presiding has continued its growth from 20 billion dollars that was President’s [Barack] Obama's level," Lavrov said. "Now, President Trump, as of this year, has helped to reach the level of 27 billion, that's around one-third of growth."

    Pompeo expressed hope that the United States and Russia will make a significant trade announcement in the very near future.

    "I hope there is some significant progress that we can announce here in just the next short period of time about how we can move our economic relationship forward further," Pompeo said.

    Domestic Affairs

    Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said that Moscow is prepared to exchange assurances with the United States on non-interference in each other’s domestic affairs.

    "Incidentally, we have offered multiple times and reminded about that today to put on paper a mutual obligation on non-interference in domestic affairs of each other," Lavrov said. "And we have prepared to do something similar at this point in time, at this very crucial stage."

    Lavrov said that he had not seen any proof in support of allegations that Russia has interfered in US elections because such proof does not exist.

    "We have highlighted once again that all speculations about our alleged interference in the domestic processes in the United States are baseless," Lavrov said. "There are no facts that would support that. We did not see these facts. No one has given us this proof because simply it does not exist."

    Lavrov said that the United States and Russia have agreed to find approaches to alleviate triggers in bilateral relations such as visa issues and diplomatic property.

    "We have agreed to continue to find paths in order to alleviate certain triggers in the bilateral sphere," Lavrov said. "It includes arrests of Russian citizens abroad, the visa situation both for delegations that take part in international events and diplomats, as well as the situation with diplomatic property."

    Russian Foreign Minister said that the two countries intend to continue the dialogue and normalize bilateral relations.

    "The diplomacy is basically trying to find solutions that would not infringe in vested interests of each other, but that would allow to avoid conflicts and promote constructive cooperation," Lavrov said. "We will continue our dialogue, we have reciprocal intent to do that and we have opportunities… to normalize our bilateral relations."

    Lavrov also announced that he has invited US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to visit Russia.

    "We would like to continue the dialogue and I am inviting him to visit Russian Federation at any convenient time," Lavrov said.
    "Thanks for the invitation," Pompeo replied.
    "We should have a better relationship, the United States and Russia, than we've had the last few years," Pompeo said.


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    US Seeks Arms Control Treaty with Russia and China, Undecided on START - Diplomat
    New START Treaty Extension is Only Way to Avoid Further Erosion of Arms Control - Moscow
    bilateral meeting, bilateral talks, bilateral trade, New START Treaty, New START, trade, denuclearization, domestic affairs, arms control, Sergei Lavrov, Mike Pompeo
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