MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Latest on U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the Philippines (all times local):
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the U.S. will respond by Sept. 1 to Russia’s move to force a major reduction in American diplomatic staff.
Tillerson is speaking to reporters during a visit to the Philippines. He says he communicated U.S. plans to respond by that deadline to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in their meeting in Manila on Sunday.
Tillerson says he told Lavrov that the U.S. still hasn’t decided how it will respond. He says he asked Lavrov “several clarifying questions” about the act of Russian retaliation in response to new sanctions passed by Congress.
Russia said recently it was forcing the U.S. to cut its embassy and consulate staff in Russia by 755 people. But there’s been confusion because the U.S. is believed to have far fewer than 755 American employees in Russia.
Russia is anticipating difficulties in ensuring a cease-fire in the last of the four safe zones in Syria.
That’s what Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (sir-GAY’ lahv-RAWF’) has said in televised comments after his meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Manila on Sunday.
Russia, Iran and Turkey agreed on a plan in May to establish four “de-escalation” zones in Syria, and they pressed the Syrian air force to halt flights over those areas.
Russia and Iran back Syrian President Bashar Assad. Turkey supports rebels fighting Syrian government forces.
Lavrov says he thinks “it will be difficult” to hammer out the details of the truce around the Syrian town of Idlib. He says Moscow hopes for a compromise to ensure the cease-fire if each country that wields influence in Syria — including the United States — can get the armed groups to comply.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (sir-GAY’ lahv-RAWF’) says U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has asked him for details about Moscow’s recent action to retaliate against American sanctions.
Lavrov — who met with Tillerson in the Philippines on Sunday — says he explained how Russia will carry out its response. But Lavrov isn’t giving out details.
The Kremlin says the U.S. must cut its embassy and consulate staff in Russia by 755 people. But there’s been confusion because the U.S. is believed to have far fewer than 755 American employees in the country.
Russia also closed a U.S. recreational retreat on the…