Meeting with Tillerson leaves Lavrov feeling US willing to continue dialogue

The US Secretary of State and Russian Foreign minister met at an international gathering in Manila, the Philippines

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said he believes the US was ready to continue dialogue with Moscow on a number of issues despite tensions cause by US sanctions against Russia.

Lavrov met US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at an international gathering in Manila, in the Philippines, with Lavrov claiming that Russia’s retaliation to the sanctions being a topic of conversation between the two.

According to Lavrov, Tillerson was interested “in details of those decisions that [Russia] grudgingly made in response to the law on anti-Russian sanctions."

The meeting was the first between the two since the sanctions were signed into law by Trump.

"We provided an explanation," Lavrov said, referring to Russia's decision to take over a summer-house compound in Moscow leased by the U.S. embassy and an order a reduction in the US’ diplomatic presence in Russia.

Lavrov said he also cited President Vladimir Putin who, in an interview to Russian TV last week, explained Moscow's need to retaliate to the US sanctions over its role in the Ukrainian crisis and recently expanded to punish Russia its meddling in the US elections last November.

The “lengthy” talks covered a wide range of topics, said Lavrov, including the issue of North Korea and the nuclear treat it poses. "We felt the readiness of our U.S. colleagues to continue dialogue. I think there's no alternative to that," Lavrov said.

The two sides agreed that Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and Under Secretary Thomas A. Shannon would continue discussing complex issues on the bilateral agenda.

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