Mike Pompeo makes first trip to Russia as Secretary of State

World Today

A warning for Russia against interfering in the 2020 presidential election.

Just one of the high-stakes topics addressed by U-S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The talks come as the two countries do NOT see eye to eye on a number of issues.

CGTN’s Lucy Taylor reports from Sochi.

He arrived saying he expected a ‘frank conversation’ about the challenges between the United States and Russia.

And in recent months there have been enough of those. This was Pompeo’s first visit as U.S. Secretary of State.

And he tackled some of the most uncomfortable topics – head-on, saying this:

“I made it clear to Foreign Minister Lavrov as we’ve made clear for the past months that interference in American elections is unacceptable. If the Russians were engaged in that in 2020 it would put our relationship in an even worse place than it has been. And encourage them not to do that, that we would not tolerate that.”

They had to agree to disagree on a number of issues – including the standoff in Venezuela.

Then, there was avoiding an arms race. Both countries have recently suspended a decades-old missiles treaty.

Here, they said they would continue talking about what comes next.

“Since we are talking about major nuclear powers, the tension between Russia and the US inevitably affects the rest of the world. Therefore we have agreed with the Secretary of State that we need to take practical steps to amend the current situation,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

There was even talk of another meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin at June’s G20 summit in Japan, something Trump himself disclosed earlier in the week.

Engaging with Vladimir Putin will put Donald Trump and his administration under intense scrutiny back home. But here in Russia, this kind of high-level contact will only be seen as a win – and one that could even signal a new phase in what has been an increasingly fraught relationship.

But no one expects things to change quickly. Pompeo said the U.S. and Russia are not ‘destined’ to be adversaries.

But two countries on opposite sides of so many of the world’s crises. May need more than warm handshakes to find common ground.

Newsweek’s Jonathan Broder on US tensions with Iran and Russia

To discuss what seems to be the U.S. dialing back a bit on tensions with Iran and Russia, CGTN’s Mike Walter spoke with Jonathan Broder. He covers defense and national security as a Senior Writer for Newsweek.