US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will cancel the Moscow leg of his Russian Federation trip, but will meet President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the Black Sea resort of Sochi as planned on Tuesday (14 May), a State Department official said.
Speaking for almost two hours late into the evening in Putin's forested dacha in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Pompeo became the highest-ranking American to meet the Russian leader in 10 months.
Khamenei echoed Pompeo's rhetoric in a speech to officials.
Pompeo - who like most of the U.S. political class, with the major exception of President Donald Trump, has been outspoken in his criticism of Putin - said that the two countries found areas on which to cooperate, and voiced optimism in breaking a deadlock on Syria. The Syrian regime has been striking at Syrian rebel and extremist positions in Idlib, near where Turkish troops are located. "If American interests are attacked, we will most certainly respond in an appropriation fashion", said Pompeo.
"We are ready to do that if our USA colleagues are ready to reciprocate".
Ties between the two countries have been damaged by allegations - denied by Moscow - that Russian Federation tried to influence the results of the 2016 United States presidential election, and by differences over Iran, Syria, Ukraine and Venezuela. "As for our policy, it's been consistent now for the entire Trump administration and the decision to withdraw from the JCPOA (Iran nuclear deal), now just over a year ago, made clear what our objectives are", Pompeo said of his stopover in Brussels en route to Sochi.
Lavrov defended Russia's position and said the threats Maduro's government is receiving from USA officials, coupled with Guaidó's seeming support for a foreign military intervention, "bear no relation to democracy".
"Interference in American elections is unacceptable".
"He understands that the U.S. is going to be in the lead, but I think there are places we can work together", Pompeo said.
"I urged Russian Federation to reach out to Ukraine's new president [Volodymyr Zelensky] to demonstrate leadership by taking step towards breaking the stalemate", he said.
Russian Foreign Minister Serguei Lavrov has rejected US threats against the Venezuelan government and said it has nothing to do with democracy.
Last week, Washington announced the deployment of an aircraft carrier battle group and a bomber task force to the Persian Gulf to counter what US officials called "clear indications" of Iranian threats to the interests of the United States or its allies in the region.
"And we want to make sure [Europeans] understood the risks as we saw them, and I shared that with them in some detail. We share the same threat assessment", he said. "It's about trying to find solutions, compromises, places where there are overlapping interests".
Pompeo was set to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin at his residence in Sochi later in the evening, for the countries' highest-level bilateral talks in almost a year.
Although Pompeo and Lavrov discussed a wide range of bilateral and global problems, including the situations in Iran, North Korea, Ukraine, Syria and Venezuela, there were no major breakthroughs on any of those issues.
The talks also touched on arms control and the conflict in Syria, in which Russian Federation and the United States back opposing sides.
The US has recently ramped up the pressure, deploying an aircraft carrier strike group and nuclear-capable bombers to counter vaguely described threats from Iran.
Most Latin American and European nations recognize opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president of Venezuela, whose crumbling economy has prompted millions to flee.