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Russia says US ready to continue dialogue

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By Catherine Hardy  with REUTERS
Russia says US ready to continue dialogue

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says he believes his US counterparts are ready to continue dialogue with Moscow on complex issues, despite bilateral tensions.

Lavrov has met US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on the sidelines of an international gathering in Manila.

He says the first thing that Tillerson asked about was Russia’s retaliation to new US sanctions against Moscow.

Why was the meeting significant?

it was the first between the pair since President Donald Trump reluctantly signed into law the sanctions that Russia said amounted to a full-scale trade war and ended hopes for better ties.

Lavrov described the talks as lengthy and said they covered a wide range of topics from the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula to coordination plans between Russia and the US to withstand attacks.

What did Lavrov say?

“We provided an explanation,” he said, referring to Russia’s decision to take over a summer-house compound in Moscow leased by the US embassy and an order to slash US diplomatic presence in Russia.

Lavrov also said he cited President Vladimir Putin who, in an interview to Russian TV last week, explained Moscow’s need to retaliate to the US sanctions over its role in the Ukrainian crisis and recently expanded to punish Russia for meddling in the US presidential election.

What they are saying

“He was primarily details of those decisions that we grudgingly made in response to the law on anti-Russian sanctions,” – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov talking about Rex Tillerson.