Sunday, May 26, 2019 | ePaper
Pompeo tells Russia: Don't meddle in next US Presidential election
Reuters, Sochi/Moscow :
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the Bocharov Ruchei residence in Sochi, Russia on Tuesday.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Russia on Tuesday that Washington would brook no interference in the 2020 U.S. presidential election and wanted Moscow to take action to show there would be no repeat of its suspected 2016 meddling.
President Vladimir Putin, who met Pompeo in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi, pushed back, telling him that Russia never interfered in U.S. elections and that a report by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller, which he praised as being "objective overall", had found no evidence of collusion with President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign.
Relations have long been strained by U.S. intelligence and law enforcement findings - denied by Moscow - that Russia tried to influence the results of the 2016 U.S. presidential election to boost Trump's chances of winning the White House.
Pompeo's visit followed the publication of the long-awaited report by Mueller into the nature of Russia's role in that election that spoke of "sweeping and systematic" interference by Moscow but did not establish that members of Trump's campaign conspired with Russia during the 2016 election.
Now that the Mueller report was out of the way, Putin said he hoped ties would start improving.
"I've formed the impression that your president wants to repair Russia-U.S. ties and contacts and wants to solve issues which are of common interest for us," Putin told Pompeo.
"We've said many times that we also want to fully restore our relations. I hope that the necessary conditions for that to happen will now be created."
Visiting Russia for the first time as secretary of state, Pompeo earlier clashed with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on issues from Ukraine to Venezuela. After their meeting, both men said they had been far apart on many issues.