Russia Denies US Election Meddling, Talks Syria Ceasefire

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HAMBURG (CBSMiami/AP) — Russia’s foreign minister says President Donald Trump has accepted Vladimir Putin’s assurances that Moscow didn’t meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Sergey Lavrov made the claim to reporters following Trump and Putin’s lengthy meeting on the sidelines of an international summit in Germany.

That account appears at odds with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s description of the meeting.

Tillerson said the president was “rightly focused on how do we move forward from what may be simply an intractable disagreement at this point.” U.S. intelligence officials have blamed Russia for election hacking and other efforts to influence the election to help Trump win.

Lavrov also said that Russian military police will monitor a cease-fire in southwestern Syria, per a Russia-U.S. deal.

Under the cease-fire deal Lavrov said was brokered by Russia, the U.S. and Jordan, Moscow and Washington will ensure the cessation of hostilities and humanitarian access.

A monitoring center will be set up in Jordan, and the Russian military police will oversee its implementation.

Lavrov described Friday’s lengthy talks as “very constructive” and said Trump and Putin touched on cybersecurity, Ukraine, North Korea and other issues

Trump said it went “very well” and the two had some “very, very good talks.”

Putin added that “phone conversations are never enough definitely.”

“If you want to have a positive outcome in bilaterals and be able to resolve most international policy issues, that will really need personal meetings,” Putin said.

Political analysts predicted they didn’t expect much to get accomplished.

“There’s not a lot of time to get into these issues, so the stakes in this meeting have become unrealistically high,” Dan Senor, a former Bush Administration Adviser.

It wasn’t all Russia and Putin on Friday, however, as President Trump also met with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

“We are negotiating NAFTA and some other things with Mexico. We’ll see how it all turns out,” said Trump.

Pena Nieto canceled a meeting with Trump at the White House earlier this year after a dispute over a border wall. When asked Friday if he still thinks he can get Russia to pay for the wall, Trump replied “Absolutely.”

Meanwhile, it was the second day of violent protests outside the summit. They blame the G20 leaders for a number of problems including climate change and the migration crisis. For a time, they even successfully blocked Melania Trump from leaving her hotel in the morning.

President Trump meets with China’s president on Saturday. Relations between the two countries have suffered a bit over how much support China is willing to give in order to stop North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

(TM and © Copyright 2017 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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