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Don’t meddle in next US presidential vote: Pompeo tells Russia

Don’t meddle in next US presidential vote: Pompeo tells Russia

Reuters
SOCHI/MOSCOW
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday that Washington would brook no interference by Moscow in the 2020 US presidential election, saying such a move would seriously harm already poor relations.
Visiting Russia for the first time as secretary of state, Pompeo publicly clashed with Lavrov on issues from Ukraine to Venezuela. After their meeting, both men said they had been far apart on many issues.
“I made clear to Foreign Minister Lavrov... that interference in American elections is unacceptable. If the Russians were engaged in that in 2020 it would put our relationship in an even worse place than it has been,” he said. “I’d encourage them not to do that. We would not tolerate that.”
However, both men said they shared a desire to improve battered ties despite not being able to confirm a suggestion by US President Donald Trump that he would meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of a meeting of the G20 in Japan next month.
“The United States stands ready to find common ground with Russia as long as the two of us can engage seriously on those issues,” Pompeo said. “President Trump has made clear that his expectation is that we will have an improved relationship between our two countries.
This will benefit each of our peoples. And I think that our talks here today were a good step in that direction.”
Relations have long been strained by allegations –denied by Moscow–that Russia tried to influence the results of the 2016 US presidential election. Pompeo’s visit followed the publication of a long-awaited report by US Special Counsel Robert Mueller into the nature of Russia’s role in that election. Russian officials had expressed hope beforehand that Washington would now have more scope to improve ties.
But though Pompeo and Lavrov made some positive remarks about the potential for cooperation on nuclear arms control, Pompeo listed a large number of US complaints about Russia.

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