MOSCOW — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said nearly two hours of meetings Tuesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov about "nearly every issue facing our two countries" were productive, though there appeared to be no major breakthroughs.
The United States and Russia both have interests in a number of ongoing global issues. But they often find themselves on opposite sides, even if they share a stated basic goal.
One such situation is the conflict in Syria, where Russia has supported President Bashar al-Assad's forces, while the United States has backed rebels who want to see Assad out of office. U.S.-Russian efforts to bring a U.N.-brokered end to the war that began in 2011 fell apart in 2016.
But Pompeo told reporters Tuesday he thinks U.S. and Russian officials "now can begin to work together" in a way to begin the process set out in a U.N. Security Council resolution that calls for a Syrian-led political transition with a cease-fire, new constitution and elections.
"I'm not sure we have all the capacity of that, but I think we now have a common understanding of the places where we were hung up, which I think we can work our way through," Pompeo said after the talks at Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi.
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