All but ignoring the unfurling drama over Russian Federation and the US election, President Donald Trump on Wednesday sought to advance prospects for co-operation between the former Cold War foes in Syria and elsewhere in a rare Oval Office meeting with Vladimir Putin's top diplomat.
FM Lavrov will become the highest-ranking Kremlin official to visit Washington during Trump's tenure. No other details are disclosed.
MINSK/BEIRUT Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said that de-escalation zones proposed by his ally Russian Federation were a chance for rebels to "reconcile" with Damascus and drive out Islamist militants, but vowed to fight on calling United Nations -led peace talks fruitless.
She says Tillerson told Lavrov that sanctions on Russian Federation over its actions in Ukraine will remain in place until Russian Federation changes course.
Before Lavrov met with Trump, he joined Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to discuss multiple global issues at the State Department. "We have not seen a single fact, a single proof".
While not unprecedented, it is a rare privilege for a foreign minister to be received by a US president for a bilateral meeting in the White House.
When asked if Comey's firing "cast a shadow" over the meeting, Lavrov looked surprised and answered, "Was he fired?" before telling the reporter in a deadpan voice, "You are kidding".
Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Monday that Moscow expected "above all coming to a common understanding on the need for de-escalation in Syria".
Lavrov says that's especially true regarding a zone in Syria's south, near the border with Jordan and Israel.
She said he would meet with Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe later on Wednesday and that the administration wanted the Russian Federation investigation to be completed to show "there is no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia".
On Tuesday, media reported that Lavrov would meet Trump during the working visit to the United States.
The Kremlin has long maintained that any investigation into Trump's potential ties to Russian Federation is a USA domestic matter.
The uproar seemed certain to complicate Lavrov's mission in search of United States support for a Russian plan to create safe zones in Syria.
He's brushing off the questions as "noise" about Russians' contacts with people in Trump's campaign.
The pair discussed Syria and focused on ideas for de-escalation, while President Trump said he pressed Russian Federation to "reign in" the Assad regime and Iran.
Donald Trump was so frustrated by the ongoing investigation into his administration's links with Russian Federation he would sometimes scream at television when news concerning it came on, according to one of his advisers.
Mr Trump and Mr Lavrov met in private, though both sides cast the session as a sign of ties having improved since the U.S. leader's assessment of them last month as being at an "all-time low". With Trump's dismissal of Comey supercharging the Russiagate scandal, they may get even worse.
"President Trump clearly confirmed his interest in building mutually beneficial, business-like pragmatic relations", he said. It is also important to note that Russian Federation and the United States seem to be getting along well despite the missile attack by the United States on Syria last month that drew sharp criticism from Kremlin. The Russian foreign minister will also meet his counterpart, Rex Tillerson.