World

Tillerson: US, Russia can ease tension despite mistrust

MANILA US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said yesterday he believes Washington and Russia can find a way to ease tension, saying it would not be useful to cut ties over the issue of suspected Russian meddling in last year's US presidential election.

Mr Tillerson said Russia had also expressed willingness to resume talks about the crisis in Ukraine, where a 2015 ceasefire between Kiev's forces and Russian-backed separatists is regularly violated.

"In places we have differences, we are going to have to continue to find ways to address those," he said.

Mr Tillerson met his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of an international gathering in Manila on Sunday, where he also asked about Moscow's retaliation to new US sanctions against Russia.

It was their first meeting since US President Donald Trump reluctantly signed into law the sanctions that Russia said amounted to a full-scale trade war.

Mr Lavrov said he believed his US peers were ready to continue dialogue with Moscow.

Mr Tillerson said he discussed the election issue with Mr Lavrov to "help them understand how serious this incident had been and how seriously it damaged the relationship" between the two nations.

"The fact that we want to work with them on areas that are of serious national security interest to us, and at the same time having this extraordinary issue of mistrust that divides us, that is what we in the diplomatic part of our relationship are required to do," Mr Tillerson said. - REUTERS

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