Russia 'preparing' Lavrov visit to Washington next week

Moscow (AFP) –


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is preparing to visit Washington next week, a spokeswoman said Friday, which would be the first time since a controversial 2017 meeting with US President Donald Trump,

"The meeting is being prepared" for December 10, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, without providing further details.

Lavrov has not been on an official visit to the US capital since his encounter with Trump in the Oval Office in May 2017, which was followed by allegations that the US leader divulged classified intelligence in the meeting.

Photographs of the meeting showed Lavrov, Trump and subsequently sacked Russian envoy to Washington Sergei Kislyak sharing a laugh.

Trump was later cleared of suspicions of collusion with Russia in a long-running probe, which however concluded that Moscow tried to swing the 2016 US election in Trump's favour.