Trump eyes mutually-beneficial ties with Russian Federation, says Lavrov

According to descriptions of the meetings provided by the White House and the State Department, reports of Russian interference in the USA election did not come up despite ongoing US investigations into alleged attempts.

It was conversations between the ambassador and Mr Michael Flynn, the president's former national security adviser, that ultimately led to Mr Flynn's ouster in February, ostensibly because he had lied to Vice President Mike Pence about whether the two had discussed U.S. sanctions on Russian Federation.

"We're going to stop the killing and the death", Mr. Trump said.

In a statement after the meeting, the White House said Trump had "emphasized the need to work together to end the conflict in Syria", particularly urging Russian Federation to "rein in" the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad and its ally, Iran.

"We're talking about Syria and I think that we're going to do very well with respect to Syria and things are happening that are really, really, really positive", Trump added.

U.S. President Donald Trump addresses a press conference at the White House in Washington D.C., the United States, on April 12, 2017.

"The dismissal of Director Comey establishes a very troubling pattern".

He highlighted that Trump had dismissed the controversy as "false news".

"President Trump clearly confirmed his interest in building mutually beneficial, business-like pragmatic relations", he told journalists.

Asked by reporters about the Comey firing, Lavrov reacted sarcastically, saying, "Was he fired?".

"You are kidding. You are kidding", Mr. Lavrov replied.

The Russian Embassy had sent out the photo as Trump was set to meet Lavrov on Wednesday.

In response to the White House official's complaint that the White House was "tricked", former Obama administration national security adviser Susan Rice said on Twitter: "No kidding!"

Since March 2011 the Syrian conflict has caused more than 320,000 deaths and forced millions of refugees to flee.

Russian Federation backs Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad in the civil war.

Also in attendance was Kislyak, Russia's ambassador to the United States. Lavrov called it a US decision, echoing Putin, who said Russian Federation had nothing to do with Comey's dismissal.

The agreement calls for the creation of four "de-escalation zones" to shore up a ceasefire, ban flights and allow for deliveries of humanitarian aid.

But Lavrov said he detected a USA willingness to participate, especially with a zone being formed in Syria's south, near the border with Israel and Jordan.

Tillerson struck a hard line on Ukraine, stating that "the need for progress toward full implementation of the Minsk agreements" and that "sanctions on Russian Federation will remain in place until Moscow reverses the actions that triggered them".

Over the past six years, Moscow and Washington have sparred multiple times over the conflict in Syria, especially concerning Assad's fate.

Lavrov's American counterpart Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has admitted that US-Russian relations are at their lowest ebb since the Cold War and that there is nearly no trust left. White House officials denied any political motive in the move by Trump, who took office on January 20.

Asked if Mr Trump had fired Mr Comey over his handling of the Russian Federation investigation, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said no.

Relations with Moscow were badly strained by Russia's 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula and its backing of separatists in eastern Ukraine, helping spark a war that has killed more than 9,900 people.

  • Larry Hoffman