Washington(August 2, 2017): US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that he would meet with his Russian opposite number Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov over the weekend, but warned US-Russia ties could still get worse.
Some in Moscow and Washington had hoped relations between the former Cold War foes might improve under US President Donald Trump, who has had warm words for President Vladimir Putin.
But the great power rivals remain divided over Russia’s intervention in Ukraine, US sanctions against Kremlin allies and Moscow’s support for Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian regime.
But now Trump is poised to sign into law a bill to further tighten sanctions and Putin has ordered the US diplomatic mission in Russia to cut hundreds of staff.
Tillerson said the US Congress decision to pass the sanctions bill had made attempts to thaw ties “more difficult,” but that “all the indications are” that Trump will sign it.
In the meantime, Tillerson plans to meet Lavrov in Manila on the sidelines of an ASEAN ministerial meeting.
The US president, who often called for warmer ties with Moscow during the White House race, has furiously denied the charge, which has further clouded relations.