, NEW YORK, United States, Sep 17 – US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met his Russian counterpart Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in New York on Sunday ahead of the UN General Assembly, officials said.
After the meeting, at the Russian delegation to the UN, Tillerson left without saying anything to the reporters, who were initially invited in to cover the opening of the talks but asked to leave before the US official arrived.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a reporter that “the meeting was on cooperation in Syria crisis Middle East issues and Minsk agreement,” but when asked how it went said she had not been in the room.
Tillerson and Lavrov “met this evening in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly,” department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.
“The two recommitted to deconflicting military operations in Syria, reducing the violence, and creating the conditions for the Geneva process to move forward,” she said.
Ties between Washington and Moscow are at what Tillerson has called a “historic” post-Cold War low, amid tit-for-tat cuts to each other’s diplomatic missions.
But Washington wants to work with Russia to help resolve the crisis in Syria, where both have military forces deployed, and the rivals are trying to work through their differences.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin will not attend the UN General Assembly this week, but his US counterpart Donald Trump will make his much-anticipated first address to the world body on Tuesday.