Pompeo to meet with Russia’s top diplomat Lavrov at UN

New York, Sept 22 (AFP/APP):US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will on Friday meet with top Russian diplomat Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, the state department announced Sunday.

The two envoys last met in mid-May in Sochi, Russia. Since then, Washington and Moscow abandoned their 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty, which limited the use of nuclear and conventional medium-range weapons.

The treaty’s end has heightened fears of a renewed arms race between the US and Russia, even as President Donald Trump expressed his desire for better relations with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.

But ties remain tense, and Trump administration officials regularly criticize Moscow for its policies, particularly towards Ukraine and Syria.

A senior US official said Washington intends to use the annual meeting at UN headquarters in New York to counter “malign influence by autocratic states,” in particular Russia, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Syria and China. The INF banned the use of land-based missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers (310 to 3,400 miles).

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