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Trump to meet Russian foreign minister Lavrov on Wednesday - senior U.S. official

12 May 2017

Aimed at attempting to mend ties between Washington and Moscow over geopolitics, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Trump talked on phone Tuesday, discussing the prospects of cooperation and coordination on the issues of terrorism in Syria and the situation around North Korea, among other issues.

"Was he fired? You're kidding", Lavrov said sarcastically, feigning surprise as he started his day of meetings in Washington. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, Tillerson and Lavrov will exchange views on key problems of the worldwide agenda and discuss topical issues of the bilateral relations at the upcoming talks. Tillerson ignored questions about Trump and Comey.

The stigma of the Russian Federation investigations has been impossible for Mr Trump to shake.

On Syria, where Russian Federation has backed President Bashar Assad's forces and the USA has supported anti-Assad rebels, the talks appeared to indicate a slight narrowing of differences.

Even former Attorney General Sally Yates said she had alerted the White House that Ex- national security adviser Michael Flynn could be "essentially blackmailed by the Russians".

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But in the meantime, his hopes for a possible rapprochement with Moscow, so regularly repeated during the campaign, have been derailed.

Relations deteriorated between the United States and Russia after USA air strikes against a Syrian airfield in response to a chemical weapons attack that Washington blamed on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a Russian ally. It is yet another sign that the relationship between the United States of America and Russian Federation is improving under the newly elected president Donald Trump after it hit the lowest point since the cold war under the Obama administration. He visit to the U.S. will continue through to May 11.

Lavrov was conveying a Russian plan to end the violence, after hashing out an agreement with Iran and Turkey last week.

It focuses on the creation of four de-escalation zones. Critical details still need to be finalized and the USA response has been cautious, with top officials such as Defense Secretary Jim Mattis saying they're still studying the concept and its various unanswered questions.

Lavrov arrived in Washington in the evening of May 9. The would-be safe zones would not cover areas where the USA -led coalition is fighting IS.