* Lavrov says Russia does not interfere in other countries
* Was asked to comment on turmoil in Washington
* Says two countries can work together
By Andrea Shalal
BONN, Germany, Feb 16 Russia does not interfere
in other countries' interior affairs, Russian Foreign Minister
Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday at the start of his first meeting
with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Reporters present at the start of the meeting asked Lavrov
to comment on the turmoil in Washington where President Donald
Trump sacked a top aide this week over his contacts with Russian
"You should know we do not interfere in the domestic matters
of other countries," Lavrov said.
Trump has railed against "criminal" leaks from U.S.
intelligence agencies, some of which apparently showed national
security adviser Michael Flynn had had conversations with
Russians about sanctions, something he had previously denied.
Lavrov did not elaborate about the situation in Washington,
but Russian President Vladimir Putin has said it is in the
interests of both nations to restore communications between
their intelligence agencies.
Trump has said he hopes to rebuild ties with Russia despite
reports from U.S. intelligence agencies last year which
concluded that Russia hacked and leaked Democratic emails during
the presidential campaign as part of efforts to tilt the vote in
the election in Trump's favour.
Lavrov said the two countries had "plenty of issues" to
discuss, many of which had already been raised during a
telephone conversation between Trump and Russian President
Vladimir Putin on Jan. 28.
"I believe that we can discuss and establish the parameters
of our future work," Lavrov said, adding, "Very glad to see you
once again." It was not immediately clear when the two men had
At the meeting, on the sidelines of a G20 foreign ministers
meeting in Bonn, reporters were present during Lavrov's opening
remarks to Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp, but
were quickly ushered out when Tillerson began to speak.
"Why do they shoosh them out?" Lavrov asked Tillerson, whose
remarks were interrupted when U.S. media handlers asked
journalists to leave the meeting room.
Many news outlets have complained about Tillerson's lack of
communication with reporters.
Relations with the media came up during a meeting between
Tillerson and British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.
They talked briefly about Johnson's recent trip to The
Gambia and Ghana but did not answer a reporter's question about
how changes in Washington would affect the transatlantic
As reporters left the room, Johnson said: "Are we still
Tillerson replied: "They never give up."
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)