State Secretary Rex Tillerson said Monday that he believes Washington and Russia will manage to ease tension, noting it would be useless to end relations with Russia over a suspected interference in the 2016 election, Reuters reports.
The secretary of state said Russia was willing to continue talks about the Ukraine crisis, where the ceasefire of 2015 is regularly violated by Kiev forces and Russian separatists in east Ukraine.
“We should find places we can work together… In places we have differences we’re going to have to continue to find ways to address those,” said Tillerson.
The Secretary of State met his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, during an international conference in Manila on Sunday, where he also asked about Moscow’s retaliation to new U.S. sanctions against Russia.
This was their first meeting since Trump’s reluctant signing of the sanctions, for which Russia said have reached a full-blown trade war and ended hopes for improving the relations.
Lavrov on Sunday said he believed his U.S. colleagues were ready to continue dialogue with Moscow on complex issues despite tensions.
Tillerson said he spoke of Russia’s alleged interference in the U.S. presidential election in 2016 with Lavrov to “help them understand how serious this incident had been and how seriously it damaged the relationship” between the two nations.
Tillerson, however, said the move should not damage ties irreversibly.
“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 just what we in the diplomatic part of our relationship are required to do,” Tillerson said.