US not ready to collaborate militarily with Russia, says Trump's defence secretary

US not ready to collaborate militarily with Russia, says Trump's defence secretary
Defence secretary Jim Mattis

The US is not ready to collaborate militarily with Russia, defence secretary Jim Mattis said, appearing to close the door for now on any effort to work more closely with Moscow in the fight against Islamic State militants in Syria.

His blunt rejection came after Russian President Vladimir Putin called for increased intelligence co-operation with the US and Nato, and it makes such co-ordination less likely, at least in the near future.

Mr Mattis followed his dismissal with a sharp assessment of Russia's alleged election meddling, saying there is "very little doubt that they have either interfered or they have attempted to interfere in a number of elections in the democracies".

His comments raised questions about the Trump administration's policies on Russia.

As a candidate, President Donald Trump repeatedly praised Mr Putin, saying he wanted a new era of co-operation with Moscow.

Speaking at a meeting of Nato defence ministers, Mr Mattis said the US will continue to engage politically with Mr Putin's government to try to find common ground.

Political leaders, Mr Mattis said, will seek "a way forward where Russia, living up to its commitments, will return to a partnership of sorts here with Nato. But Russia is going to have to prove itself first".

The US ceased military-to-military relations with Russia in the wake of Moscow's 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region.

But last year, the Obama administration considered plans to co-operate militarily with Russia as part of a ceasefire deal in Syria.

Senior defence department leaders opposed the plan, and it quickly fell apart as the ceasefire collapsed.

Also on Thursday, US secretary of state Rex Tillerson met with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov in the highest-level face-to-face contact between the two countries since Mr Trump took office.

Mr Lavrov was asked if Russia is concerned about turmoil in the Trump administration.

He repeated Moscow's standard line that Russia "does not interfere in the domestic matters of other countries".

Mr Tillerson did not speak at the meeting on the sidelines of a conference of foreign ministers of Group of 20 major powers in Bonn, Germany.

AP

More on this topic

Christopher R Hill: Trump’s departure will not cure America’s political malaiseChristopher R Hill: Trump’s departure will not cure America’s political malaise

Donald Trump refuses to pay security bill for Harry and MeghanDonald Trump refuses to pay security bill for Harry and Meghan

TP O’Mahony: God’s representative in the White HouseTP O’Mahony: God’s representative in the White House

'Take it easy': Trump urges public to relax and pandemic 'will pass''Take it easy': Trump urges public to relax and pandemic 'will pass'

More in this Section

Princess liner carrying virus victims docks in FloridaPrincess liner carrying virus victims docks in Florida

US President Trump warns Americans to expect 'a lot of death'US President Trump warns Americans to expect 'a lot of death'

Hospitals fighting Covid-19 at risk of cyber attack, Interpol warnsHospitals fighting Covid-19 at risk of cyber attack, Interpol warns

Donald Trump calls inspector general he sacked in whistleblower row ‘a disgrace’Donald Trump calls inspector general he sacked in whistleblower row ‘a disgrace’


Lifestyle

With documentary film ‘Fantastic Fungi’ set to take the world by storm, Joe McNamee looks at the fabulous world of mushroomsDocumentary explores the magic of mushrooms

I lead a very busy life — I’m a mature student in college — and I separated from my partner but the separation was my decision. I hate myself when it beckons as it ultimately makes me fatter, it has the reverse effectDear Louise: I had my bulimia under control. But the demon has returned

This year has been particularly difficult and stressful, and I think that’s an even more important reason to make time for your health.Derval O'Rourke: Resistance is far from futile and necessary

Best-selling author Faith Hogan is keeping the faith during the lockdown, thanks to her Moy Valley haven in Ballina, Co Mayo.Shape I'm in: Keeping the Faith during lockdown

More From The Irish Examiner