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MOSCOW, July 14. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold talks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday, presumably to focus on the Syria and Ukraine crises.
"On Thursday late afternoon (July 14) President Putin will receive U.S. Secretary of State (John) Kerry and (Russian) Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. A set of themes is quite predictable: they include both Syria and Ukraine along with bilateral issues (of Russia and the U.S.)," presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. However, he did not give any more concrete details, noting that "it is Lavrov who is Kerry’s counterpart."
"We know that they (Lavrov and Kerry) will be having substantial talks on Friday (July 15)," the Kremlin spokesman said.
Earlier, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said that violations of the ceasefire in Syria by armed groups controlled by Jabhat al-Nusra (a terrorist organization banned in Russia - eds. TASS) but claiming their commitment to the cessation of hostilities were the theme Russia was set to discuss with the U.S. secretary of state.
The U.S. State Department said that Kerry would focus on the next stage in implementation of the ceasefire in Syria.
Peskov pointed out that a possibility of the meeting between Putin and Kerry "was mentioned during a recent conversation between Putin and U.S. President (Barack) Obama," held on July 6. The Kremlin said then, "Putin called his interlocutor’s attention to the need to dissociate moderate Syrian opposition from the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist group and other extremists to whom the ceasefire regime does not spread as early as possible. Both sides confirmed readiness to build up military coordination of Russian and American actions in Syria and stressed the importance to resume the U.N.-brokered intra-Syrian dialogue with the aim to reach the conflict’s political settlement."
Speaking about the Ukraine conflict to Obama, Putin "again pointed to the importance of strict implementation by Kiev of the Minsk Agreements of February 12, 2015, including organization of real direct dialogue with Donetsk and Lugansk, the holding of amnesty, the granting of a special status to the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, and joint development of the law on local elections."
Besides, the Kremlin said that both presidents "underscored there was no alternative to resolve the conflict but for a political solution and pointed to the need to activate efforts for prevention of any ceasefire violations, for full implementation of the withdrawal of heavy weapons and disengagement of warring sides.".