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Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday meets US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the highest-level talks between the rival powers in nearly a year as they see if they can make headway on a raft of disagreements from Venezuela to Iran to arms control. Pompeo will visit Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi less than two weeks after President Donald Trump voiced optimism about improving relations with Moscow during a more than one-hour telephone conversation with the Russian leader. The renewed diplomacy followed the long-awaited report in the United States by investigator Robert Mueller which found that Russia interfered in the election but that the Trump campaign did not collude with Moscow, partially lifting a cloud that had hung over the mogul-turned-president for two years. Pompeo is the highest-ranking US official to see Putin since July when Trump met him in Helsinki and stunned the US political class by appearing to accept the Russian leader's statement at face value that he did not meddle in the US election. Trump on Monday announced that he expected a "very fruitful meeting" with Putin and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Japan, only for Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov to deny Washington had requested such a meeting and say there were "no agreements so far. Trump's enthusiasm for courting Putin has little support in Washington, even within his own administration, which has kept up a campaign of pressure including sanctions on Russia over alleged election meddling and Moscow's support for armed separatists in Ukraine.

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