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Pompeo says US, Russia not doomed to new Cold War

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Washington (AFP)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday that the United States and Russia were not destined to enter a new Cold War but urged Moscow to change course on issues including Ukraine.

"It is not the case that we are doomed to a Cold War rivalry," Pompeo told the world's business elite in Davos, Switzerland, speaking by video after the ongoing US government shutdown triggered his trip's cancellation.

While saying that Washington saw the importance of mitigating risks between the world's two biggest nuclear powers, Pompeo added: "I must say it has been a struggle."

He pointed to Russia's actions in Ukraine, where it has supported separatist rebels and annexed the Crimean peninsula, as well as Moscow's attempts, as alleged by US intelligence, to interfere in elections in the United States and elsewhere.

"These aren't the behaviors of nations that want to be part of the international community," Pompeo said.

"And we hope that they'll return to the right course of actions, a set of course of actions, that lead them down the path of the rule of law and order and liberty," he said.

"If they do those things, I am confident that our two nations can prosper and grow alongside of each other. We are not destined to be antagonists," he said.

President Donald Trump, whose 2016 presidential campaign is the subject of a probe over its relationship to Russia, has drawn controversy at home with his calls for a better US relationship with his counterpart Vladimir Putin.

The State Department and other key actors including the US Congress have largely stayed the course in keeping pressure and expanding sanctions on Russia, angering Putin.

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