Published: Thu, May 11, 2017
World | By Tasha Manning

Sergei Lavrov, Russian foreign minister, jokes about Comey firing

Sergei Lavrov, Russian foreign minister, jokes about Comey firing

In a later statement, the White House said Trump "further emphasised his desire to build a better relationship between the United States and Russia".

During his appearance with Tillerson, Lavrov feigned surprise when asked whether Comey's firing as Federal Bureau of Investigation director cast a shadow over the U.S. -Russia talks. "Both in respect to Iraq and Libya, the worldwide community, the progressive community, was obsessed with the idea to oust one person - Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Muammar Gaddafi in Libya - and look what it has led to", said Lavrov in a press conference at the Russian embassy in Washington, D.C. The White House has refused to revive official visitor logs instituted under President Barack Obama.

"President Trump clearly confirmed his interest in building mutually beneficial, business-like pragmatic relations", Lavrov told journalists.

Mr Trump later told USA reporters he had had a "very, very good meeting" with Mr Lavrov, with progress made on the issue of Syria.

None were apparently reached today, however. The pool was ushered into the Oval Office at 11:26 a.m., where instead Lavrov, President Trump was seated beside former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

The meeting between Donald Trump and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov were the highest-level public contact between Trump and the Russian government.

The Lavrov photo was quickly followed up by one released by the Russian Embassy of Trump shaking hands with Sergey Kislyak, Russia's ambassador in Washington. The US President called the meeting "very good" and when asked whether the Comey dismissal affected the meeting, he said "not at all".

"Was he fired?" Lavrov says, "You're kidding?"

Australia has "better health care than we do"
Trump said he was "so confident" that the measure would pass the Senate and vowed that premiums and deductibles would come down. Sanders, the Vermont independent who sought the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, tweeted in response Friday: "Yes, Mr.

Comey's dismissal escalated concerns in both parties that Trump may be trying to undermine an investigation that appears to be gaining steam.

Mr Trump insisted that was not the case.

Still, the overlap between the investigation and Trump's diplomatic efforts made for uncomfortable optics.

Trump fired now-former FBI Director James Comey, who told Congress earlier this year that his agency has been investigating Russia's actions - and possible ties to anyone associated with the Trump campaign - since last July.

Lavrov notes that Trump dismisses the matter as "false news".

During Tillerson's visit to Moscow in April, Mitchell shouted a question to Tillerson about Russia's stance on the alleged April 4 sarin chemical gas attack by the Syrian government under Bashar al-Assad against the Syrian people.

The US is not party to the deal and has reacted cautiously, especially given its misgivings about Iran's role. Lavrov said the meeting mainly focused on ideas of de-escalation zones in Syria.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert says Tillerson and Lavrov agreed that the United Nations process is "central to worldwide efforts to bring about an enduring resolution". The zones would not cover areas where the USA -led coalition is fighting the Islamic State group, but enforcement and other questions remain unanswered.

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