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Top Russian, U.S. Diplomats To Meet After Helsinki Summit, Lavrov Says

Russian Foreign MInister Sergei Lavrov (file photo)

Russia and the United States have agreed that their top diplomats will meet after a summit between the two countries' presidents scheduled for later this month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said.

Lavrov said in Moscow on July 4 that his meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would have to take place after the planned talks between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump in Helsinki on July 16.

"Yesterday Mike Pompeo told me on the phone that his schedule is very tense and we will be unable to meet before the summit," he said at a news conference with his visiting Jordanian counterpart.

"We agreed to choose a date and place right after the meeting of our presidents in Helsinki to find ways for the realizations of goals which will be hopefully set at this summit," Lavrov added.

Relations between Moscow and Washington have sunk to a post-Cold War low over issues including Russia's seizure of Crimea in March 2014, its role in wars in Syria and eastern Ukraine, and its alleged meddling into the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on July 2 that the Russian president is open to searching for compromises with Trump on all issues except the status of Ukraine's Crimea region, which Moscow claims is part of Russia.

On July 4, Peskov confirmed that preparations were under way for a meeting between Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Moscow next week.

Netanyahu's office had said he would meet Putin in the Russian capital on July 11.

Based on reporting by Reuters, TASS, and Interfax