Kissinger makes a surprise appearance in the Oval Office

Kissinger makes a surprise appearance in the Oval Office

In 2014, Russian Federation annexed Ukraine's Crimea region and backed separatists fighting government forces in eastern Ukraine, drawing widespread condemnation in Europe and the United States.

Lavrov, who is known to sometimes for his dry sense of humor, joked about Comey's firing when he was asked about it at his brief appearance with Tillerson.

When asked if Comey's firing "cast a shadow" over the meeting, Lavrov looked surprised and answered, "Was he fired?" before telling the reporter in a deadpan voice, "You are kidding".

Russian president Vladimir Putin requested during a recent phone conversation that Trump meet with Lavrov, the official said.

Lavrov later met with Trump, but the talks yielded few concrete outcomes other than warm pleasantries.

Lavrov, who came to Washington seeking USA support for a Russian plan to create safe zones in Syria, said "concrete mechanisms that we can manage together" were discussed.

Eventually, it was left to the Russian state press to put out pictures of Trump and Lavrov meeting and shaking hands.

He was also clueless about FBI director James Comey's abrupt dismissal the night before, in the midst of a multi-pronged investigation into Russian interference.

Mr Lavrov was conveying the plan to end the violence, after hashing out an agreement with Iran and Turkey last week.

During Tillerson's visit to Moscow in April, Mitchell shouted a question to Tillerson about Russia's stance on the alleged April 4 sarin chemical gas attack by the Syrian government under Bashar al-Assad against the Syrian people.

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Trump "emphasized his desire to build a better relationship between the United States and Russian Federation", the White House said in a statement.

President Trump, wearing a dark suit and red striped tie, said he met with Kissinger to talk "about Russian Federation and various other matters".

But the meeting will be impossible to separate from the Trump administration's unfolding political drama amid investigations into possible election-year collusion between Trump campaign associates and the Kremlin.

"Was he fired?" Lavrov says, "You're kidding?"

"We want to see the killing, the frightful killing, stopped in Syria as soon as possible and everyone is working toward that end", he said.

And the one statement that made the most impact was when he said the politicians were "damaging the political system of the U.S".

The agreement calls for the creation of four "de-escalation zones" to shore up a ceasefire, ban flights and allow for humanitarian aid deliveries.

Lavrov said his focus was primarily on the Syrian safe zones, a plan which President Trump had previously been in favor of, but which since Russian Federation backed them they are now extremely evasive about their posiition on. Critical details need to be finalised, and the USA response has been cautious.

"I believe that politicians are damaging the political system of the US, trying to pretend that someone is controlling America from the outside".

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