MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet U.S. President Donald Trump during talks with his U.S. counterpart in Washington on Tuesday, the Interfax news agency cited a Russian foreign ministry source as saying.
Lavrov’s trip to Washington for talks with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo comes as bilateral ties are at post-Cold War lows, strained over everything from alleged election meddling to the wars in Ukraine and Syria.
Time is also running out for the two sides to strike a deal that would replace or extend their New START nuclear arms treaty that is set to expire in February 2021.
President Vladimir Putin last week offered the United States an extension on the deal without any pre-conditions or further discussion.
Russia’s foreign ministry confirmed Lavrov’s trip to Washington in a statement. It did not mention a meeting with Trump, but Interfax cited a foreign ministry source saying there would be such a meeting.
“We expect that (Lavrov) will be received by (Trump) and will hold talks with (Pompeo),” the source was quoted as saying.
The White House neither confirmed nor denied Trump would meet Lavrov.
U.S. intelligence agencies have said Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election campaign in order to tilt the vote in Trump’s favor. Moscow has denied any interference.
Reporting by Tom Balmforth and Andrey Kuzmin in Moscow; additional reporting by Steve Holland in Washington; Editing by Toby Chopra and Catherine Evans