US Secretary of State broached Ukraine issue at meeting with Russian counterpart
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called on Russia to keep its commitments under the Minsk agreement to end the fighting in Ukraine’s east, during a meeting with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov at a gathering of foreign diplomats from the G-20 group of states in Bonn on February 16.
He described the meeting, the first face-to-face encounter between top US and Russian officials since President Trump was sworn in,“productive”.
In a statement posted on the White House’s website, Tillerson said: “We discussed a range of issues of mutual concern. As I made clear in my Senate confirmation hearing, the United States will consider working with Russia where we can find areas of practical cooperation that will benefit the American people. Where we do not see eye to eye, the United States will stand up for the interests and values of America and her allies”.
“As we search for new common ground, we expect Russia to honor its commitment to the Minsk agreements and work to de-escalate the violence in the Ukraine”.
In his turn, Sergei Lavrov said Russia and the USA had confirmed they had common interests – above all, in the field of combatting terrorism.
“Understandably, we couldn’t have solved all the issues, and I think there’s no way all the issues can ever be solved between two states as big the Russian Federation and US,” he said. “But we do agree that where our interests concur – and they do concur in many fields – we must move forward.”
Inter alia, the two had discussed the situation in Afghanistan and Ukraine, according to the Russian foreign minister. “Our American partners are willing to join the efforts being taken to resolve the conflicts,” Lavrov said.
Earlier, the White House spokesman Sean Spicer said president Trump expected the Russian government to de-escalate violence in Ukraine and return Crimea.