Mike Pompeo warns Russian Federation not to meddle in 2020 USA election

Evarado Alatorre
May 15, 2019

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov agreed to work to normalize strained relations and restore bilateral channels of communication following talks Tuesday at the Black Sea resort of Sochi. President Donald Trump seems to be counting on "maximum pressure" to get Iran to "call him", while suggesting no off-ramp in case this call, as seems likely, doesn't materialize.

Pompeo is the highest-ranking U.S. official to see Putin since July when Trump met him in Helsinki and stunned the United States political class by appearing to accept the Russian leader's statement at face value that he did not meddle in the USA election. Russian Federation claims to be adhering to the Iran deal. Putin did not address Mueller's conclusion that Russian Federation actively interfered in the election. "We share the same threat assessment", he said. "I hope that the necessary conditions for that to happen will now be created".

"We count on a frank talk with my American counterpart". "If Russia were to engage in that in 2020, it would put our relationship in an even worse place than it is". "I'd encourage them not to do that". We wouldn't tolerate that. "Our elections are important and sacred and they must be free and fair", he added.

Putin would agree to such a meeting if formally asked, a Kremlin aide told reporters.

"The Trump Administration has been clear - we do not recognize Russia's attempted annexation of Crimea".

Now that the Mueller report was out of the way, Putin said he hoped ties would start improving.

Pompeo spoke of "truly overlapping interests" that the two countries "can build on, and most importantly, President Trump very much wants to do that". "We have differences and each country will protect its own interests, look out for its own interests of its people". He also said the two sides disagree on Venezuela and urged Russian Federation to end its support for President Nicolas Maduro.

"Despite our disagreements, we will keep talking". "We want every country that's interfering in Venezuela to cease doing that".

Lavrov defended Russia's position and said the threats Maduro's government is receiving from USA officials, coupled with Guaidó's seeming support for a foreign military intervention, "bear no relation to democracy".

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Iran was another critical agenda item amid spiraling tension between Washington and Tehran that some fear could lead to conflict.

"We are ready to do that if our USA colleagues are ready to reciprocate".

The United States withdrew a year ago from Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and has since imposed increasingly strict sanctions on Tehran.

The EU is trying to implement a new channel to allow Iran to sell its oil and circumvent newly-instated US sanctions, but setting it up is proving complex.

"We fundamentally don't seek war with Iran", Pompeo said.

"We are looking for Iran to behave like a normal country", Pompeo said, pointing in part to Tehran's backing of Huthi rebels in Yemen who are under attack from USA ally Saudi Arabia.

Trump told reporters at the White House on Monday that he would meet with Putin during the G20 summit in Japan in late June, but no formal meetings have been announced by either government.

"We call upon all concerned parties to exercise restraint for the sake of regional peace, including by ensuring maritime security", said United Nations spokesman Farhan Haq.

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