Lavrov and Pompeo to Hold Talks in Finland Thanks to Successful Putin/Trump Phone Call
One of the main political events of the next week will be held tomorrow in the capital of Finnish Lapland. A ministerial meeting of the Arctic Council will be held in Rovaniemi, on the margins of which Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will hold negotiations. The situation in Venezuela should be the main topic of the meeting. But they won't discuss only that. It became clear after a telephone conversation between the leaders of the two countries last Friday. Finland has already stated that it's happy to provide a platform again for the interrupted Russian-American dialogue. Washington doesn't share that cautious optimism. At the start of the election race, opponents have accused Trump of almost treason.
Here's Alexander Khristenko reporting from the U.S.
The meeting between Sergey Lavrov and Mike Pompeo has been confirmed and will be held on the margins of the Arctic Council, that is, in Finland, in the city of Rovaniemi. They'll discuss not only the environmental issues of the north but the political situation in the remote south — Venezuela.
The state of affairs in this country was one of the topics of a telephone conversation between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. The U.S. leader made the call himself, and as a result, for the first time in a long time, the presidents talked. It was a substantial talk, which lasted for almost an hour and a half. They touched upon the situation in Ukraine. While discussing bilateral relations, they focused on economic cooperation and the possible reduction of nuclear arsenals with China joining the treaty. Particular attention was paid to the North Korean issue.
Donald Trump: «I had a very good conversation with Putin. We talked over an hour, and we managed to discuss a lot. In particular, we talked for a long time about North Korea».
Vladimir Putin met with the leader of the DPRK, Kim Jong-un, in Vladivostok one week ago. As he promised, he informed America about the results. Russia and the USA have the same goal — the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. But their methods are very different. After the U.S. president's call to Moscow, Trump was still attacked.
— Did you discuss with Mr. Putin the issues of interference in the elections which are described in the Mueller report?
Donald Trump: Yes, I did. He even smiled in some way when he said that the mountain had given birth to a mouse. He knew that there was no collusion.
— Did you tell him not to interfere in the upcoming elections?
— I'm sorry but I'm talking, answering the question. And you're behaving very rudely. We had a good discussion on many different topics.
— So, did you tell him not to interfere in the upcoming elections?
— We didn't discuss that.
Trump was once again accused of betraying America's national interests.
«He didn't only fail to raise that issue, but they even joke about it. They joke that Russia attacked our democracy».
Jake Tapper, CNN presenter: «President Trump doesn't say, „this is what Putin says.“ He speaks about Putin's point of view, as if he's his spokesperson».
This isn't the first time that even for intentions to improve relations with Russia, Trump is subjected to severe criticism. After the first and only summit with Putin in Finland last July, the American press gave him a roasting. As a result, the relations between the countries remained at a complete standstill. In fact, everything that was discussed in Helsinki was never fulfilled, including Trump's assignment to NSA Bolton to invite Putin to come to Washington in the autumn of 2018. Since then, the invitation has not been officially revoked by the White House, but the meeting is still postponed.
Vladimir Putin: «There's a good book, „12 Chairs“. There's a phrase, „Come see us, the old mother will be very happy, but we won't give you our address“. The events have to develop for it».
At the G-20 summit in Argentina, after the Ukrainian provocation in the Kerch Strait, Trump disrupted the meeting with Putin, canceling it at the very last moment. Now, perhaps, there'll be a new attempt to hold negotiations. But in Washington, there are new accusations of another interference by Russia. This time, in the situation in Venezuela. They claim that the presidential plane was already prepared and Nicolas Maduro was about to flee the country but Russia interfered at the last moment. That was stated by Secretary of State Pompeo. He called Sergey Lavrov that day.
Sergey Lavrov, Foreign Minister of Russia: «I understand that Mike Pompeo called to say publicly later that he called me and urged to not interfere. I don't see how we can combine our position on the one side, which is based on the UN Charter, on the principles and norms of international law, and the position of the U.S., which from Washington, designates the acting president of another country, requires the legitimate authorities to capitulate, and threatens to use force on the other side».
After a telephone conversation with Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump said that he felt that Russia wasn't going to interfere anywhere. Therefore, it's possible that Secretary of State Pompeo will arrive at the meeting with Sergey Lavrov with a slightly adjusted position.
Alexander Khristenko, Nikolay Koskin for Vesti from Washington, USA.