MOSCOW, July 11. /TASS/. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will pay a working visit to Moscow on July 14-15, the Russian foreign ministry said on Monday.
"He will have talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to continue to discuss current issues of bilateral relations and the international agenda," the ministry said.
The situation in the Russia-U.S. relations is complicated, the ministry noted. "They [the relations] have been seriously damaged by unfriendly steps Washington has been taking since early 2014. These include breaking of ties in many areas, imposing of sanctions against Russian individuals and legal entities, which runs counter to the international law. One of the results is the reduction of bilateral trade by almost a third," the ministry said.
"Moscow is taking reciprocal steps in response to the United States’ attempt to inflict damage to us, including to dangerous actions in the military sphere," the ministry said, adding that it has been warning the U.S side that its "confrontational course towards Russia is futile and even dangerous and constructive cooperation is possible only on the basis of equality, non-interference into our domestic affairs and reckoning with Russian interests."
"One of the central places in the ongoing dialogue with Washington is allocated to the Syrian settlement," the Russian foreign ministry said. "With Russia and the United States playing a leading role as co-chairs of the International Syria Support Group, a ceasefire regime has been observed in most of Syria’s provinces since February 27. Regular Russia-U.S. contacts have been established at the political and expert level, including in the military sphere in order to make the regime of cessation of hostilities hold, to ensure humanitarian access, to combat terrorists and to promote the intra-Syrian negotiating process."
The Russian foreign ministry noted the importance of issues related to the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis and the implementation of the Minsk agreement, and exchange of opinions on other regional problems, including the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement, the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, in Afghanistan and the Korean Peninsula.
"On our part, we have been insistently raising the issue of removing acute irritants in bilateral relation that have been created by Washington which is hampering normal work of our diplomatic missions," the ministry said. "We demand the U.S. security services stop ‘manhunt’ for Russian citizens in third countries and release abducted Russian nationals. We continue our efforts to protect the rights of Russian adopted children in the United States. We have been stressing the importance of close contacts between Russians and Americans, including tourist, cultural, sports and scientific exchanges, to build up mutual trust."
"We expect that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's visit to Russia - the fourth one since May 2015 - will facilitate the improvement of an atmosphere for Russian-U.S. relations as global stability and solutions to a wide range of international crises depend on their condition," the ministry underscored.