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Lavrov, Kerry to meet in Laos, to continue discussion of Syria, Russia-US relations

July 26, 2016, 4:22 UTC+3 VIENTIANE

This will be the second meeting for Lavrov and Kerry over a period of ten days

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© Artem Korotaev/TASS

VIENTIANE, July 26. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry are expected to hold a meeting here on Tuesday on the sidelines of a conference of ASEAN foreign ministers.

This will be the second meeting for Lavrov and Kerry over a period of ten days.

Their previous meeting, which they held in Moscow, lasted almost twenty-four hours.

The agenda of Tuesday’s talks is not in any way different from the previous one and seems to be its continuation, with Syria, Ukraine and bilateral relations being the focal points.

Advances the two sides have made on the Syrian problem stand out on this list. They agreed on concrete steps aimed at imparting dynamics to the implementation of appropriate decisions of the UN Security Council and the Syria support group.

"We have a general understanding of the concrete steps, which Russia and the U.S. might make as co-chairs of the group in order to raise the efficiency of our joint performance," Lavrov said on July 15.

On the eve of Kerry’s visit to Moscow, U.S. media claimed he was taking along with him a package of proposals aiming to step up military coordination in Syria, among other things.

Upon the outcome of the talks, Lavrov and Kerry reaffirmed the common objective of eliminating the threats posed by the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nousra terrorist groupings and other similar organizations, as well as cutting short the outside flows of finance and materiel to the terrorist community.

Along with it, the problem of differentiating the Syrian opposition from terrorists still remains in place. Kerry’s rhetoric changed somewhat in Moscow, as he said the U.S. has no illusions regarding Jabhat al-Nousra and the struggle with Bashar Assad could not serve as a justification for the actions of its militants.

In the follow-up to the Moscow talks, Russian and U.S. representatives meet in Geneva on Tuesday, with the UN Secretary General’s special envoy Staffan de Mistura attending the talks.

The Ukrainian crisis still resembles a vicious circle, with the government in Kiev obstructing the Minsk accords while the West maintains the anti-Russian sanctions. Moscow has said more than once it is important to wield impact on the Ukrainian authorities in order to make them fulfill their obligations.

In this context, synchronization of efforts of all the outside actors is crucial, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

Russian-American relations are still pasted all over with irritating factors, like unilateral sanctions, the overt enticing against Russian athletes on the part of the U.S. anti-doping agency, or the continue arrests of Russian citizens in third countries on U.S. warrants.

Sergei Lavrov said in this connection the sides have agreed to go over from the enumeration of problems and the sending of lists of concerns to each other to the compilation of a roadmap that would consist of practical, albeit small, steps to rectify the apparently unhealthy situation in the sphere of bilateral ties.

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