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What did Tillerson’s Russia trip achieve?

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian President Vladimir Putin didn’t reach any groundbreaking pacts during Tillerson's visit to Moscow, but they agreed to keep trying.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson enter a hall during their meeting in Moscow, Russia, April 12, 2017.  REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTX356VZ

April 12 was an intense day in Moscow for US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. After a three-hour talk with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, instead of holding a scheduled press conference, Tillerson was invited to the Kremlin to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Days before Tillerson's visit to Russia there were conflicting reports about whether the meeting with the Russian president had been removed from Tillerson’s agenda or if it had ever been on the schedule at all. Veteran observers of Russia recognized this as merely one of Putin’s usual antics to establish that he’s calling the shots. In reality, Putin has met all US secretaries of state on their first visits to Moscow.

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