Pompeo Gets Cold-Shouldered on Iran in Brussels

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After talks in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S.

"I urged Russian Federation to reach out to Ukraine's new president [Volodymyr Zelensky], to demonstrate a leadership by taking step towards breaking the stalemate", he said.

Speaking earlier at a press conference alongside Lavrov, Pompeo said the two sides "agree on the goal of the denuclearization, and we'll continue to discuss it". -Russian relations, and Russian officials had expressed hope that Washington would have more scope to build friendlier relations with Moscow once it was out of the way.

The US has pulled out of a nuclear deal backed by the Europeans, Russia and China and instead has slapped sweeping sanctions on Iran in an all-out effort to curb Tehran's regional clout.

"The United States stands ready to find common ground with Russian Federation as long as the two of us can engage seriously", Pompeo said.

Responding to Lavrov's opening remarks, Pompeo said: "I'm here today because President Trump is committed to improving this relationship".

Below you will find key comments related to the meetings made by Pompeo, Putin, Lavrov and other officials, as well as some analysis and recent developments that add important context.

Trump's enthusiasm for courting Putin has little support in Washington, even within his own administration, which has kept up a campaign of pressure including sanctions on Russian Federation over alleged election meddling and Moscow's support for armed separatists in Ukraine.

Pompeo said that he and Putin agreed on ways to move ahead with a long-delayed Syrian-led committee that will rewrite the constitution in hopes of a political end to the conflict.

Putin noted that Iran was and is "the most monitored and transparent" country in the world after signing the deal in 2015 and said that he had spoken to the chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), who told him that Tehran is complying with its obligations.

The two sides described the talks as "frank, " saying that they wanted to improve relations strained for years over the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine and more recently over strategic arms control and US efforts to oust Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro.

The exchange follows the publication of the Mueller report, which found that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 USA election but did not conclude that the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow. He hoped to build on the EU´s uneasiness over Iran´s recent announcement of reduced compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in response to the USA unilateral withdrawal a year ago, and to supply additional arguments to bolster the US case against Iran.

"On Venezuela, we have disagreement", Pompeo said.

Iran last week announced it was suspending some of its commitments under the agreement, a year after US President Donald Trump withdrew from the accord and imposed swingeing sanctions on the Islamic republic - putting the deal in peril.

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