Russian government releases photos of Oval Office meeting

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson right shakes hands with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the State Department in Washington Wednesday

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson right shakes hands with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the State Department in Washington Wednesday

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. However, In his earlier meeting with Mr Lavrov, Mr Tillerson emphasised the United States wouldn't lift sanctions on Russian Federation related to Ukraine until Moscow reverses the actions that triggered the punishment - namely, its Crimea annexation.

Trump said he and Kissinger had met to talk "about Russian Federation and various other matters", according to the pool report.

"Those who are working on Afghanistan have not found a single expert to say we're transferring arms", Lavrov said.

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

When a reporter asked if President Trump's firing of the Federal Bureau of Investigation director Tuesday "cast a shadow on your talks", Lavrov responded with a joke. "You are kidding, you are kidding!"

Lavrov is set to meet Trump at the Whitehouse, later in the day, after talks with the secretary of state Rex Tillerson in Washington.

He says the main sticking point remains whether Syria's future includes President Bashar al-Assad, whom the USA and most other countries say must step down, but Russian Federation supports.

Since March 2011, the Syrian conflict has caused more than 320,000 deaths and forced millions of refugees to flee.

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An agreement to start military communications was first signed by Washington and Moscow in October 2015 under the Obama administration, after Russian Federation began its military campaign in support of the Assad regime. Peskov called it "an entirely domestic matter" for the US.

The US was not part of a deal by government backers Russian Federation and Iran, and rebel supporter Turkey, signed last Thursday in the Kazakh capital Astana on establishing safe zones in Syria. Russian Federation is reportedly pushing for a creation of de-escalation zones even though finer details of the plan are yet to be finalized.

"We will look at the proposal, see if it can work", Pentagon chief Jim Mattis said Monday. According to the State Department, they will discuss ongoing conflicts in Syria and Ukraine. Everyone in the Trump administration understands that these were illegitimate actions.

Both Trump and Lavrov appeared to strike a more conciliatory tone after both capitals had presented souring views of the relationship recently.

"President Trump clearly states his interest to build businesslike pragmatic relations with Russian Federation and to settle outstanding issues". He stressed Russias responsibility to fully implement the Minsk agreement.

That's the problem with the Russians - they lie.

Initially, the Lavrov-Tillerson talks were planned on the sidelines of the Arctic Council meeting, but later the meeting was relocated to the United States capital.

"[The] Secretary and Foreign Minister restated support for the UN-led political process in Geneva, which is central to worldwide efforts to bring about an enduring resolution to the [Syrian] conflict", the release stated.

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