Pompeo tells Russia: No more election interference
SOCHI, Russia (AP) — On his first trip to Russia as U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo said Tuesday that he warned his Russian counterpart against any “unacceptable” Russian meddling in U.S. elections.
At a news conference following three hours of meetings, Pompeo said he told Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov added than any such action by the Russians in the 2020 elections “would put our relationship in an even worse place than it has been.”
Both diplomats said the meeting in the resort city of Sochi covered an array of issues that have heightened tensions between Moscow and Washington. These included Iran, Syria and Venezuela, where the United States supports opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president and Russia backs President Nicolas Maduro.
Lavrov defended Russia’s position and said the threats Maduro’s government is receiving from U.S. administration officials coupled with Guaido’s seeming support for a foreign military intervention, “bear no relation to democracy.”
Pompeo and Lavrov, who appeared at ease with other, were to brief President Vladimir Putin on the meeting in the evening.
Lavrov said both countries are overdue to dispel “suspicions and prejudices” and to “start building a new constructive framework” of how Russia and the U.S see each other.
Pompeo said in televised remarks at the meeting Tuesday that he came to Russia because President Donald Trump was “committed to improve this relationship” despite differences between the United States and Russia Syria, Iran, the crisis in Venezuela and other matters.