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John Kerry raises issue of DNC email hacking with Russian counterpart Lavrov

US Secretary of State John Kerry met his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, on the sidelines of the ASEAN meeting in Vientiane, Laos on Tuesday. Photograph: (Reuters)

Reuters Vientiane, Laos Jul 26, 2016, 07.06 AM (IST)

US secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday that he raised the issue of Russia's involvement in a Democratic National Convention email hacking incident with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit in Vientiane.

The meeting in Laos happened amid accusations that Russia is behind the hacking of Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails released by Wikileaks on Friday.

Earlier, Lavrov brushed aside the accusations that Russia was involved, saying: "I don't want to use four-letter words."

"With respect to foreign minister Lavrov I did raise the issue of the DNC (Democratic National Convention) and as you know the FBI is investigating the incident and it's important for the FBI to do its work and before we draw any conclusions in terms of what happened or who's behind it, it's very important that whatever public information is put out is based on fact, so I raised the question and we will continue to work to see precisely what those facts are and the FBI has responsibility for this investigation and we'll let them speak as they proceed forward gathering those facts," said Kerry.

Cyber security experts and US officials have said there is evidence that Russia engineered the release of the emails in order to influence the US presidential election.

Although the hacking of the DNC was known to officials and cyber security experts a month ago, the timing of the release of the contents of communications within the party is the concern for US authorities.

Lavrov denies Moscow's involvement

Lavrov batted away allegations that Moscow was behind hacking of the Democratic National Committee emails ahead of the meeting on Tuesday.

The FBI is investigating whether Russian hackers were responsible for the breach, which has caused deep embarrassment to the Democratic Party and prompted accusations that Moscow is trying to influence the US presidential election.

Lavrov, in the Laos capital Vientiane for a regional security forum, shrugged when asked by reporters if Russia was responsible.

"Well I don't want to use four-letter words," he said cryptically, before greeting Kerry with a handshake.

Disseminated by WikiLeaks, the emails revealed that Democratic Party leaders sought to undermine the campaign of party's presidential nomiee Hillary Clinton's rival Bernie Sanders, and have prompted the party boss to resign.

Clinton's campaign was quick to point fingers at Russia, saying it was an attempt to boost Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's shot at the White House.

Trump has made no secret of his admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin, leading some to conjecture that the Russian leader was working to put the real estate billionaire in the White House.

(Reuters, AFP)
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