Russia’s Lavrov holds climate talks with U.S. envoy Kerry amid sanctions concerns

The pair pledged to work together further within the Arctic Council.

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (L) and then-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry leave after their bilateral meeting at the APEC Ministers Summit in Lima, Peru on November 17, 2016. (Mark Ralston / Reuters / Pool / File Photo)

MOSCOW — Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov discussed climate change with U.S. climate envoy John Kerry on Saturday, with the pair agreeing to cooperate further within the Arctic Council, the Russian foreign ministry said.

The phone conversation came as tensions between Moscow and the West have intensified. Lavrov said on Friday that Russia would be ready to sever ties with the European Union if the bloc imposed painful economic sanctions.

Lavrov told Kerry he welcome the new U.S. administration’s intention to rejoin the Paris Agreement, the global treaty committing nearly 200 countries to halt rising temperatures quickly enough to avoid disastrous climate change.

Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the agreement, calling it a “disaster” for America.

Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh.