By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will travel to Washington to meet for talks on December 10 with President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a senior U.S. administration official has said.
The meeting, scheduled at the White House, comes as Trump faces an impeachment inquiry and amid efforts by the U.S. president to improve relations with Moscow while facing pressure from lawmakers to take a firmer stance on the Kremlin.
The two countries’ top diplomats would “discuss a broad range of regional and bilateral issues,” according to a State Department statement released on December 9.
The Washington Post and AP on December 6 quoted senior U.S. officials as saying that a joint news conference is likely to follow.
They said the two diplomats would discuss Ukraine, Syria, arms control, and other issues related to currently tense U.S.-Russia relations.
A crucial summit in Paris follows Lavrov’s visit where the leaders of France, Germany, Ukraine, and Russia agreed that an “all for all” prisoner exchange should be arranged by the end of the year between Kyiv and Moscow.
They also agreed to a “full and comprehensive” cease-fire by the end of 2019 as part of an effort to find a lasting a truce in the simmering military conflict in two eastern regions of Ukraine where more than 13,000 people have been killed since April 2014.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry has said Lavrov will “exchange views on key international issues and important aspects of bilateral relations.”
Pompeo and Lavrov have met several times over the past year and have spoken occasionally by phone.
Lavrov and Russia’s then-ambassador to Washington, Sergei Kislyak, met at the White House with President Donald Trump in May 2017, prior to Pompeo assuming the secretary of state post.