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Pompeo in Sochi Made Clear He Was President Trump’s Envoy, in Seeking Better Relations

May 15, 2019 (EIRNS)—In his publicized remarks yesterday, in talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and President Vladimir Putin, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo repeatedly stressed that he was speaking for President Donald Trump—not himself—and that Trump’s desire is to seek improved relations and find the basis on which they can cooperate more fully.

President Trump “asked me to travel here and communicate that,” Pompeo explained. In later remarks to the media, he stressed that it’s not just a matter of “moving forward” after everything that’s happened since the 2016 elections, but “keeping the relationship on the high ground ... I strove to do that today,” he said, in talks with both Lavrov and Putin.

In his meeting with Putin, Pompeo emphasized that the issue is how the two nations can move forward together. “It’s not about personalities. It’s not about people. It’s about how do you take the interests of our two countries.” His talk with Putin was “good,” he said, describing him as “fully engaged. He obviously knows these issues, very, very well, so we were able to ... quickly get down into the context and concrete components of the various elements in the relationship.”

In that sense, he said, “it was really, really very productive.” Pompeo made a point of saying that, “Our two nations share proud histories and respect for one another’s cultures. We seek a better relationship with Russia and we urge that it work alongside us to change the trajectory of the relationship, which will benefit each of our peoples.”

In the joint press conference with Lavrov and Pompeo, Lavrov said there is an “untapped” potential for mutually beneficial cooperation, and that both have agreed to rebuild channels of communication. These channels have, until recently, been “frozen,” Lavrov said, “largely due to the aftermath of baseless accusations against us in attempts to influence American elections, and certain collusion of high-ranking officials of the [previous Obama] administration, and it’s clear that such insinuations are absolutely fake.”

Lavrov suggested creation of a non-governmental, bilateral expert council of political analysts, ex-military and diplomats, who could “help us decide how to overcome the accumulated mistrust, so as to have the right interpretations of each other’s actions in the military sphere and to prevent an arms race....” He also proposed creating a bilateral business advisory council, including representatives of both countries’ major businesses to draft recommendations on how the two governments can create the conditions for productive economic cooperation.

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