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Russia wants to know US’s real intentions: Sergei Lavrov to Rex Tillerson

LiveMint logoLiveMint 12-04-2017 AFP

Moscow: Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov told US counterpart Rex Tillerson on Wednesday that Moscow was hoping to understand the “real intentions” of the United States as the two met amid tensions over Syria.

“It is important for us to understand your position and that of the US and the real intentions of the administration,” Lavrov said at the start of the talks.

Tillerson said he wanted “a very open, candid and frank exchange” as the two men try to figure each other out during the first visit to Russia by a senior member of US President Donald Trump’s administration.

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“Our meeting today comes at an important moment in our relationship so that we can further clarify areas of common objectives, areas of common interest—even where our tactical approaches may be different—and further clarify areas of sharp difference so that we can better understand why these differences exist,” Tillerson said.

Lavrov said Moscow was hoping to understand Washington’s “real intentions” during the visit and warned that Moscow considered it “fundamentally important” to prevent more “unlawful” US strikes in Syria. “Your visit is very timely,” Lavrov said, adding it offers an opportunity to clarify the chances of cooperation between the two sides “above all on the formation of a broad anti-terrorist front”.

Despite hopes of an improvement in Russia-US ties under Trump, the Tillerson-Lavrov talks look set to be dominated by the war of words over Syria—where more than 320,000 people have died in six years of war.

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