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Trump meets Russia's Lavrov for 'rare' Oval Office talks

The talks with Lavrov were the highest-level public contact between Trump and Putin's government [Getty]

Date of publication: 10 May, 2017

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Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived at the White House on Wednesday ahead of Oval Office talks with President Donald Trump.
In an unprecedented move after firing the FBI director, US President Donald Trump invited Russia's foreign minister for talks at the Oval Office on Wednesday.

The veteran Russian diplomat said the two sides were seeking to "remove all the barriers" in their thorny relationship, and praised his meetings on Syria as "constructive.

Following the talks, the White House released a statement saying that Trump had "emphasised the need to work together [with Russia] to end the conflict in Syria, in particular, underscoring the need for Russia to rein in the Assad regime, Iran, and Iranian proxies".

Lavrov arrived to the West Wing at a dramatic moment in American politics, hours after Trump fired FBI director James Comey.

He was fired after heading an extensive investigation into whether Trump aides colluded with Russia to sway last year's election, with Democrats claiming allegations of a cover-up and demanding an independent inquiry.

This has made Comey the second FBI director in the history of its operations to be fired.

Communications resumption

Lavrov’s visit comes shortly after the militaries of Washington and Moscow agreed to revive communications aimed at preventing mid-air collisions over Syria. The agreement was formed over weekend phone discussions between Russian General Valery Gerasimov and US General Joseph Dunford.

The discussions led to the re-establishment of an aircraft safety memorandum for Syria between the two global powers.

An agreement to start military communications was first signed by Washington and Moscow in October 2015 under the Obama administration, after Russia began its military campaign in support of the Assad regime.

However, it was reportedly suspended by Moscow after the Trump administration ordered an airstrike on a Syrian regime airbase in April.

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