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In disagreements because of Venezuela and Iran, and with a cooperative attitude towards the reactivation of relations, ended the visit of Mike Pompeo in Russia
On May 14, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, visited the seaside resort in southern Russia, Sochi, to carry out the planned meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov, and the President Russian Vladimir Putin.
Among the issues they discussed, those that created the most disagreements were the situation in Venezuela and Iran, although they had common points as to what should be done in Syria. In the end, both countries showed a positive attitude towards the restoration of dialogue after the tensions over the supposed Russian intervention in the 2016 American elections.
As Lavrov said, according to Infobae, "I think it's time to start building a new matrix, more constructive and responsible for the mutual perception of problems, and we are prepared for it." However, to stabilize bilateral relations, it is necessary to "re-establish a dialogue based on trust at different levels, from the highest to the level of work."
Today’s meetings were a positive step forward. U.S. & #Russia have demonstrated in the past that we can cooperate on key international issues. We urge Russia to work with us to change the trajectory of the relationship for the benefit of both nations. pic.twitter.com/LDoixnsTVe— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) May 14, 2019
Venezuela: two different points of view
As expected, one of the aspects of disagreement between the two representatives was the political crisis in Venezuela.
On the one hand, Pompeo affirmed in the press conference that "We have disagreements, I want my Russian colleagues to support the Venezuelan people and their democracy, it only makes their people suffer," from which it follows that Russia will maintain its position of not intervening in the international pressure to Maduro. However, Pompeo also assured that "despite our disagreements, we will continue talking to find a solution to the community crisis in the country."
This official declaration is the result of the request of the Secretary of State to Lavrov, during the meeting, according to France 24, to withdraw "the Russian support to the president of Venezuela Nicolás Maduro and reminded him that the United States recognized as president the president of the National Assembly Venezuelan, Juan Guaidó."
In response, Lavrov responded that "The threats to Maduro by Guaidó and the United States have nothing to do with democracy." This position was reinforced at the press conference, in which he mentioned that "Russia votes for the people decide their future and it is very important that all the responsible political forces begin a dialogue between them and that all the countries in the region also act within the framework of the governmental mechanism. "Furthermore, he stressed" as Nicolás Maduro has said, the government is willing to do it. "
Thus, no meeting point was reached as to how to proceed in the face of the Venezuelan situation. We could only say, as political analyst Antonio de la Cruz affirms, in an interview with France 24, that both countries "They decided to look for external factors to influence and place a negotiated solution in Venezuela." However, he warns that "If Russia tries to buy time for Nicolás Maduro to hold on to the presidency, it could generate a change and we would not achieve a negotiated solution in Venezuela." This would happen if Russia continues in the attitude of solving everything from the dialogue.
Nuclear tensions in Iran
Another issue of tension was the nuclear crisis in Iran after Tehran decided not to follow its nuclear obligations partially and if it continued with the support of Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah, accused of bombing an area in Syria where American and Russian troops were found.
In this regard, Pompeo said at a press conference that "regarding Iran's nuclear pact, the United States will continue to apply sanctions and pressure to put an end to the unacceptable behavior of the Iranian regime." To this, he added that "We will continue to exert pressure on Iran to return to the fold of responsible countries and do everything possible to reduce destabilization. " Finally, there was no need for a comment in a warning tone, since, as El País mentions, the US will respond adequately if their interests are threatened.
Lavrov, in contrast, maintained a conciliatory tone by making explicit his wish that "together with our European and Chinese colleagues, who are also participants in the Comprehensive Plan of Joint Action (JCPOA, in its acronym in English), we are in contact with our North American colleagues to look for an exit to the crisis ", according to France 24.
However, during the press conference said that, in relation to the establishment of peace and the Iranian nuclear program, said that "we have many disagreements about it", but that, following the collaborative attitude, "the fact that we speak of them gives us hope that these agreements can be reached with the support of Russia and the United States. "
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Putin and Pompeo: a positive meeting
Hours after the meeting with Lavrov, Pompeo met with Vladimir Putin to discuss issues of common interest. Even if Putin had reviewed a defense plant that is producing a nuclear system of a possible hypersonic missile, the meeting was conducted in a friendly attitude.
According to Le Monde, when meeting with Pompeo, Putin stated that "I had the impression that his president wished to re-establish relations and Russian-American contacts, and that he wished to solve the issues of common interest." With the same attitude, Pompeo mentioned at the beginning of the meeting, according to The Washington Post, that "There are places that our two countries can find where to be cooperative, we can be productive, we can be cumulative, we can work together to make each of our peoples more successful and frankly to the world too ".
However, Putin did not miss the opportunity to remember that this new position was possible because of the investigation of Mueller, a counselor on Russian interference in the 2016 US elections, which finally confirmed "the lack of any line or link between Russia and the administration." acting. " For the Russian president, "This was one of the reasons for the erosion of our internal links. I hope the situation changes today. "
To the above, it should be added that Pompeo mentioned hours earlier to his counterpart that "The interference in the US elections is unacceptable, and if the Russians were involved in that in 2020, this would put our relationship in a worse place than it has been", a comment that shows that the episode has not yet been overcome, despite the results of Mueller.
For the time being, we must wait for the meeting of various mandates, including Trump and Putin, in the framework of the G20 summit, which will be held in June in Japan. Although Trump has been willing to an official meeting, the Kremlin has not received any formal request to request the meeting.
LatinAmerican Post | Juan Gabriel Bocanegra
Translated from "Pompeo en Sochi: un desencuentro frente a situación venezolana y otros más"