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  •  Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a meeting in Moscow, Russia April 24, 2019.

    Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a meeting in Moscow, Russia April 24, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 3 May 2019

Lavrov and Pompeo will hold talks on the sidelines of the Arctic Council’s ministerial session next week. 

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will hold a meeting with United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo next week in Rovaniemi, Finlandia to discuss, among other topics, their countries differing approaches to the current political scenario in Venezuela.

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"Yes, the meeting has been agreed on," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told the news agency TASS when asked to comment on remarks by a U.S. State Department senior official who said Thursday that Lavrov and Pompeo might meet on the sidelines of the Arctic Council’s ministerial session on May 6-7.

Riabkov also mentioned that "it is clear that Venezuela will be the main topic," though the representatives of both countries will also talk about Syria and Ukraine.

According to the Russian foreign ministry website, Pompeo and Lavrov spoke Wednesday by telephone amidst tensions created by Pompeo himself who was falsly telling U.S. media outlets Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro nearly fled to Cuba but that Russian officials convinced him to stay.

In that conversation Pompeo accused Russia and Cuba of "intervening" in Venezuela. “The intervention by Russia and Cuba is destabilizing for Venezuela and for the U.S.-Russia bilateral relationship,” claimed Pompeo.

The U.S. government under President Donald Trump has been explicitly trying to overthrow the democratically elected government of Maduro since it entered office in 2017, starting with a slew of escalating economic sanctions, two coup attempts, including Tuesday's, and attacking the country's electrical system last month causing near nationwide blackouts. 

Lavrov retorted saying that "Washington's interference in the sovereign state's internal affairs and threats directed against its leadership constitute a blatant violation of the international law." Lavrov added to his counterpart: "Further aggressive steps may lead to the gravest of consequences."


Last March, senior representatives of both countries also held talks in Rome to discuss the Venezuelan situation. The U.S. special envoy leader for Venezuela, Elliott Abrams met with Deputy Minister Ryabkov who at the end of their meeting said that the talks were profitable but, "we were not able to approach our positions mainly due to matters of principle."

During the April 30 coup attempt commanded by opposition politician Juan Guaido who called for a civil and military mobilization to overthrow Maduro, Russian authorities denounced a U.S.-driven "information war," which prevented a peaceful solution to the Venezuelan domestic conflicts, which Russia and other countries, as well as the Maduro government, have been seeking for years.

"Washington tried its best to demoralize the Venezuelan army and now used fakes as a part of information war," Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said as she was rejecting claims that the Bolivarian president was preparing to leave his country for Cuba.

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