Pompeo begins his first visit to Russia as US Secretary of State

US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo. © EPA-EFE/WILL OLIVER

MOSCOW/WASHINGTON D.C., May 13, 2019, TASS. US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo is arriving in Russia on a working visit on Monday. He will hold talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and some other meetings. This is Pompeo’s first visit to Russia since his appointment to that post last spring, reported the TASS.

The program will begin with his visit to Moscow where he will meet with his fellow countrymen. According to the US Department of State, Pompeo will meet with the US Embassy staff, members of the American business community and students. The US Secretary of State whose visit takes places a few days after the Victory Day celebrations will also lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Kremlin wall. After that, he will travel to Sochi where he will have a very eventful day in terms of negotiations on Tuesday.

Pompeo’s visit arranged at the United States’ request will take place amid contacts between Moscow and Washington, which have intensified over the past few days. The two countries’ presidents spoke over the phone in May, while Pompeo and Lavrov will have their second meeting this month. Last week, the two top diplomats held talks on the sidelines of the Arctic Council’s Ministerial Meeting in Finland. According to the Russian minister, the parties managed to focus on “real politics.”

Whether they will be able to do that again this time, will be clear only after the visit. In the meantime, there are numerous issues of concern in bilateral relations, ranging from disagreements on Syria and Ukraine to the situation in Venezuela and the US pressure on Iran.

The United States expects arms control to be a priority issue at the talks. Moscow has something to say on the issue as well, considering Washington’s decision to quit the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and its attempts to shy away from the dialogue on extending the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START).

Pompeo earlier said that he planned to discuss the developments in Venezuela with Lavrov among other issues. He pointed to good dialogue between Russia and the US on the situation in the Bolivarian Republic. The situation regarding Ukraine, Iran and North Korea will be discussed during Pompeo’s visit to Russia as well.

It has not been officially confirmed yet whether he will be received by Russian President Vladimir Putin, but the Kremlin did not rule out that possibility.

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