US President Donald Trump urged the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to "reign in" Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad.
US President Donald Trump discussed the Syrian civil war with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the Oval Office on Wednesday, at a time when alleged ties to Moscow are overshadowing the Republican's administration.
Russia backs Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad in the civil war. Trump said during his election campaign that he sought closer ties with Russia but tensions grew after US air strikes against a Syrian airfield in April in response to a chemical weapons attack that Washington blamed on Assad.
"We had a very, very good meeting with Mr Lavrov," Trump told reporters after the talks.
The meeting with Lavrov was the highest-level public contact between Trump and the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin since Trump took office on Jan. 20.
TRT World's Azadeh Ansari has more from Washington, DC.
Lavrov rejects meddling allegations
Trump stunned the United States on Tuesday by firing FBI Director James Comey, whose agency is investigating alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election and the possibility Trump associates may have colluded with Moscow.
"The goal of both President Trump and President (Vladimir) Putin is to have concrete results which will be tangible and which will allow (us) to alleviate problems, including on the international agenda," Lavrov told journalists.
The Russian foreign minister also rejected claims that Moscow interfered in the election that sent Trump to the White House as "fabrications."
Lavrov's visit to the Oval Office was a rare welcome for a foreign minister — or any non-head of state representing a foreign country.