Russia Preparing Lavrov-Tillerson Meeting in Manila on ASEAN Sidelines

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meet

One former senior department official told Politico part of the delay is due to the new and convoluted decision-making process by Tillerson, a former ExxonMobil CEO. Though ostensibly in retaliation for a similar USA move previous year under President Barack Obama, the Russian action came just after Congress voted to slap Russia with more economic sanctions, and to include new requirements making it far harder for Trump to ease the penalties.

"I think from his perspective and how he looks in the eyes of his own people, he felt he had to do something", Tillerson said of the delayed response.

The U.S. Congress voted last week by overwhelming margins for sanctions to punish the Russian government over interference in the 2016 presidential election and its annexation of Crimea.

"Hammond said the secretary is in the process of working through disagreements with Russian Federation, and this is not consistent with what we're trying to do", the former senior State official told Politico.

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Tillerson said his relationship with Trump is very good despite reports of friction between the two.

At a State Department press briefing on Tuesday, Tillerson conceded State still "had a lot of open slots" but praised career diplomats for stepping up in the interim.

The assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere, covering Latin America and Canada, could play an outsized role in USA foreign policy given the Donald Trump administration's fixation on immigration issues from Latin America, trade deals with its closest neighbors, and the unraveling crisis in Venezuela. "Does it make our lives more hard?"

"We do not seek an accelerated reunification of the peninsula", Tillerson said. "Of course it makes our life more hard".

David Price stratched from Red Sox start tonight, headed for disabled list
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Tillerson is travelling to Asia this week, where he will continue his drive to increase "peaceful pressure on the regime in North Korea to have them develop a willingness to sit and talk to us and others". "He and I have differences of views on things like [the Iran nuclear deal] and how we should use it".

Tillerson also defended a broad reorganization of the State Department that he has undertaken.

Sources told Politico that Tillerson relies on aides instead of State Department's career staff and he also is looking to spend less money in the wake of President Donald Trump's plan to cut the department's budget.

"After the Ministers endorse the Framework, we expect them to task the Joint Working Group to begin discussions on the actual Code", said DFA spokesman Robespierre Bolivar.

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