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GENEVA, September 14 (Itar-Tass) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry will have a third day of talks in Geneva on Saturday to discuss Russia’s initiative for placing Syrian chemical weapons under international control.
The consultations started Thursday evening to continue throughout Friday.
Both Russian and US participants in the meeting have offered very cautious comments regarding the negotiating process so far.
As a source in the Russian delegation has said, the parties agreed from the outset to refrain from public comments on progress in the talks and to focus on the work.”
At this point it is only known that the consultations are proceeding in a constructive fashion.
A Russian diplomatic source has told ITAR-TASS “the process is not hopeless.” Both delegations and the former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who had twice attended Lavrov-Kerry meetings, originally speculated that a specific result might be achieved by late Friday evening. Intensive work is still in progress, the sources said.
A large group of experts is accompanying Lavrov and Kerry. Their task is to discuss a long list of technicalities. The Russian delegation consists of officials from the Foreign Ministry, the Defence Ministry, Industry and Trade Ministry and the General Staff.
“We have a whole government commission for chemical disarmament. The Industry and Trade Ministry as the agency responsible for chemical disarmament is the key one in that respect,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told ITAR-TASS.
The US delegation includes officials from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the staff of the presidential national security adviser and the Pentagon. Also taking part in the consultations are Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and US Undersecretary of State Wandy Sherman.
All talks are being held at Intercontinental hotel close to Geneva’s airport.