US, Rus­sia clash on elec­tion med­dling

Hindustan Times (Patiala) - - World - Agence France-Presse let­[email protected]­dus­tan­ n

Sec­re­tary of state Mike Pom­peo on Tues­day warned Rus­sia not to in­ter­fere in next year’s US elec­tion even as the two coun­tries worked to im­prove re­la­tions.

Pom­peo on Tues­day was vis­it­ing the Black Sea re­sort of Sochi where he is set to be­come the high­est-rank­ing Amer­i­can to meet with Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin in nearly a year. But at a joint news con­fer­ence with Rus­sian Foreign Min­is­ter Sergei Lavrov, Pom­peo re­newed US con­cerns that Moscow med­dled in the 2016 elec­tion to try to tip the vote to Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

“In­ter­fer­ence in Amer­i­can elec­tions in unac­cept­able. If Rus­sia en­gaged in that in 2020, it would put our re­la­tion­ship in an even worse place than it has been,” Pom­peo said. “I con­veyed that there are things that Rus­sia can do to demon­strate that these kinds of ac­tiv­i­ties are a thing of the past. I hope that Rus­sia takes ad­van­tage of those op­por­tu­ni­ties,” Pom­peo said.

Lavrov, how­ever, re­jected the ac­cu­sa­tions of Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence, which an investigat­ion by US Spe­cial Coun­sel Robert Mueller said in­cluded ex­ten­sive, shad­owy ef­forts on so­cial me­dia. “The facts show that those who are in­flat­ing this topic do not have any proof,” Lavrov said.

On “col­lu­sion” in­volv­ing high­rank­ing of­fi­cials, Lavrov said: “It’s clear that such in­sin­u­a­tions are ab­so­lute fic­tion.”

“We want and we are ready to deal with cy­ber­se­cu­rity is­sues along with our Amer­i­can part­ners, with­out any politi­ci­sa­tion,” he said.

The two-year-long investigat­ion by Mueller found that Rus­sia in­ter­vened ex­ten­sively but found no ev­i­dence that the Trump cam­paign was col­lud­ing with Rus­sia.

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