Tillerson says US, Russia can settle problems, ease tension

MANILA, Aug 7 (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Monday he believes Washington and Russia can find a way to ease tension, saying it wouldn't be useful to cut ties over the single issue of suspected Russian meddling in the U.S. election.

Tillerson said Russia had also expressed some willingness to resume talks about the crisis in Ukraine, where a 2015 ceasefire between Kiev's forces and Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country is regularly violated.

"We should find places we can work together... In places we have differences we're going to have to continue to find ways to address those," Tillerson told reporters.

Tillerson met his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, on the sidelines of an international gathering in Manila on Sunday, where he also asked about Moscow's retaliation to new U.S. sanctions against Russia.

RELATED: Photos of Tillerson and Lavrov

9 PHOTOS
Rex Tillerson and Sergei Lavrov
See Gallery
Rex Tillerson and Sergei Lavrov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson enter a hall during their meeting in Moscow, Russia, April 12, 2017. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during a news conference following their talks in Moscow, Russia, April 12, 2017. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson take their seats during a news conference following their talks in Moscow, Russia, April 12, 2017. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (R) shakes hands with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov before their meeting at the State Department in Washington, U.S., May 10, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (R) waves to the media next to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov before their meeting at the State Department in Washington, U.S., May 10, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
From left, South Korea Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, Thailand's Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai, Russian Foreign Minster Sergey Lavrov, Vietnam's Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, U.S. State Secretary Rex Tillerson, Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishan, Australia Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Brunei's 2nd Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Lim Jock Seng, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhon applaud after a group photo at the start of the 7th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers' Meeting and its dialogue partners as part of the 50th ASEAN Ministerial Meetings in Manila, Philippines August. 7, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron Favila/Pool
U.S. President Donald Trump (3rd R), Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (R), Russian President Vladimir Putin (3rd L) and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (L) attend a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany July 7, 2017 Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
FAIRBANKS, ALASKA, USA - MAY 11, 2017: Sweden's Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and Norway's Foreign Minister Borge Brende (L-R) pose for a group photo ahead of the 10th Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting. Alexander Shcherbak/TASS (Photo by Alexander Shcherbak\TASS via Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

The meeting was their first since President Donald Trump reluctantly signed into law the sanctions that Russia said amounted to a full-scale trade war and ended hopes for better ties.

Lavrov on Sunday said he believed his U.S. colleagues were ready to continue dialog with Moscow on complex issues despite tensions.

Tillerson said he discussed Russia's suspected meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election with Lavrov to "help them understand how serious this incident had been and how seriously it damaged the relationship" between the two nations.

But Tillerson said that should not irreversibly damage ties.

"The fact that we want to work with them on areas that are of serious national security interest to us, and at the same time having this extraordinary issue of mistrust that divides us, that is just what we in the diplomatic part of our relationship are required to do," Tillerson said.

The United States sent its special representative on Ukraine, Kurt Volker, a former U.S. envoy to NATO, to Ukraine last month to assess the situation in the former Soviet republic.

Washington cites the conflict as a key obstacle to improved relations between Russia and the United States.

"We appointed a special envoy to engage with Russia but also coordinating with all parties. This is full visibility to all parties. We are not trying to cut some kind of deal on the side," Tillerson said. (Editing by Martin Petty and Nick Macfie)

RELATED: Rex Tillerson through his career

13 PHOTOS
Rex Tillerson through his career
See Gallery
Rex Tillerson through his career

Exxon Mobil Corporation Chairman and Chief Executive Rex Tillerson speaks at a news conference following the Exxon Mobil annual shareholders meeting in Dallas, Texas May 30, 2007. Tillerson told reporters on Wednesday that the construction of the Mackenzie pipeline project in Canada was not viable at current cost levels.

(REUTERS/Mike Stone)

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (R) and Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson look on at a signing ceremony in the Black Sea resort of Sochi August 30, 2011. Exxon and Russia's Rosneft signed a deal on Tuesday to develop oil and gas reserves in the Russian Arctic, opening up one of the last unconquered drilling frontiers to the global industry No.1.

(REUTERS/Alexsey Druginyn/RIA Novosti/Pool)

Executives from six major oil companies are sworn in to testify at a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on the "Consolidation in the Oil and Gas Industry: Raising Prices?" on Capitol Hill in Washington March 14, 2006. The executives are (L-R) Rex Tillerson, Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil Corp., James Mulva, Chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips, David O'Reilly, Chairman and CEO of Chevron Corp., Bill Klesse, CEO of Valero Energy Corp., John Hofmeister, President of Shell Oil Company and Ross Pillari, President and CEO of BP America Inc.

(Jason Reed / Reuters)

ExxonMobil Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson speaks during the IHS CERAWeek 2015 energy conference in Houston, Texas April 21, 2015.

(REUTERS/Daniel Kramer/File Photo)

Chairman, President and CEO of Exxon Mobil Corporation Rex Tillerson watches a tee shot on the 13th hole during the first round of the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am golf tournament at the Monterey Peninsula Country Club course in Pebble Beach, California, February 6, 2014.

(REUTERS/Michael Fiala)

Rex Tillerson, chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil; John Watson, chairman and CEO of Chevron Corp.; James Mulva, chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips; Marvin Odum, president of Shell Oil Co.; and Lamar McKay, president and chairman of BP America Inc.; are sworn in during the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Environment hearing on their safety practices as oil continues to leak into the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig - operated by BP - exploded last month.

(Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images)

ExxonMobil Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson speaks during the IHS CERAWeek 2015 energy conference in Houston, Texas April 21, 2015.

(REUTERS/Daniel Kramer/File Photo)

WASHINGTON, DC - May 12: James Mulva, chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips; and Rex Tillerson, chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp.; during the Senate Finance hearing on oil and gas tax incentives.

(Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images)

Chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil Corporation Rex W. Tillerson and Norway Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg attends the United Nations Foundation's global leadership dinner at The Pierre Hotel on November 8, 2011 in New York City.

(Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images)

Rex Tillerson, chief executive officer of Exxon Mobil Corp., left, speaks with Daniel Yergin, vice chairman of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates Inc., during the 2015 IHS CERAWeek conference in Houston, Texas, U.S., on Tuesday, April 21, 2015. CERAWeek 2015, in its 34th year, will provide new insights and critically-important dialogue with decision-makers in the oil and gas, electric power, coal, renewables, and nuclear sectors from around the world.

(Photographer: F. Carter Smith/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Renda St. Clair and Rex Tillerson attend the reopening celebration at Ford's Theatre on February 11, 2009 in Washington, DC.

(Photo by Abby Brack/Getty Images)

Rex Tillerson, chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, listens during a meeting at the Department of the Interior September 22, 2010 in Washington, DC. Secretary of the Interior Kenneth L. Salazar hosted Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, Gulf Oil Spill National Incident Commander Adm. Thad Allen (Ret.), representatives from the private sector and others to discus strengthening the containment abilities to deep water oil and gas well blowouts like the recent BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

(Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.