US President Donald Trump appealed to Moscow to “rein in” the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and its key ally Iran, during White House talks Wednesday with Russia’s top diplomat Sergei Lavrov.
“President Trump emphasized the need to work together to end the conflict in Syria, in particular, underscoring the need for Russia to rein in the Assad regime, Iran, and Iranian proxies,” the White House said following their talks at the Oval Office.
Trump described the Oval Office meeting with Lavrov as “very, very good” on Wednesday, urging that the horrible killing in Syria must stop.
Trump also claimed progress on ending the conflict in Syria.
“We had a very, very good meeting” Trump said shortly after the meeting. “We're going to stop the killing and the death (in Syria).”
‘Mutually beneficial’ relations
Lavrov on Wednesday became the most senior Russian official to meet Trump since he came to office, and the most high-profile Kremlin official to visit the White House in years.
It is rare for a foreign minister -- or any non-head of state representing a foreign country -- to be given a meeting in the Oval Office.
“I think that we are going to do very well with respect to Syria, I think things are happening -- they are really, really, really positive,” Trump said.
Meanwhile, Lavrov, after meeting trump, said the two mainly focused on ideas on de-escalation zones in Syria previously proposed by his US counterpart.
Lavrov also said that Trump is seeking “mutually beneficial” and “pragmatic” relations with Moscow.
“President Trump clearly confirmed his interest in building mutually beneficial, business-like pragmatic relations,” Lavrov told journalists.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday also met with Lavrov for talks on Syria and Ukraine, amid a political firestorm that has placed Moscow's alleged meddling in last year's election back in the spotlight.
Trump on Monday fired FBI chief James Comey, who was leading a wide-ranging probe into whether Trump aides colluded with Russian officials to sway last year's election, which saw the Republican billionaire defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton.
“I want to welcome the foreign minister to the State Department and express my appreciation for him making the trip to Washington so that we could continue our dialogue and our exchanges that began in Moscow,” Tillerson told reporters.
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