September 24, 2018 / 3:58 PM / 3 months ago

Pompeo to meet Russia's Lavrov amid U.S. concern on missile sale to Syria

FILE PHOTO: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 25, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday he expected to meet with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in New York as Washington expressed concern at Moscow’s plans to supply the S-300 surface-to-air missile system to Syria.

“I’m sure Sergei and I will have our time together,” Pompeo said of plans to meet Lavrov on the sidelines of the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations.

“We are trying to find every place we can where there is common ground, where we can work with the Russians,” adding that there were many areas where Moscow was working against the United States and “we will hold them accountable.”

Russia announced on Monday it will supply a S-300 missile system to Syria in two weeks despite strong Israeli objections, a week after Moscow blamed Israel for indirectly causing the downing of a Russian military plane in Syria.

The White House said it hoped Russia would reconsider the move, which U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton called a “significant escalation” of the seven-year war.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Helsinki, Finland in July and Bolton and his Russian counterpart met in August.

However, U.S.-Russian relations remain at their lowest point in decades, in part over differences in Syria, Ukraine and U.S. allegations Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. election.

The United States has already imposed economic sanctions on Moscow over the election. Moscow denies any interference.

Reporting by Steve Holland; Writing by Yara Bayoumy; editing by Grant McCool

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