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Sergei Lavrov and John Kerry to discuss Ukrainian crisis in Paris

March 30, 2014, 5:19 UTC+3 PARIS
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PARIS, March 30. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet in Paris on Sunday as part of an agreement reached by the Russian and U.S. presidents, a source at the Russian Foreign Ministry press and information department told Itar-Tass.

In a recently held telephone conversation with U.S. President Barrack Obama, President Putin suggested discussing possible steps which the international community could take to stabilize the crisis in Ukraine.  

The Kremlin press service said that Putin had told his U.S. counterpart that extremists continued intimidating civilians, the authorities and law enforcers in various parts of Ukraine and in Kiev. The leaders of the two countries agreed that the Russian and U.S. foreign policy chiefs would discuss concrete parameters of joint work soon.

On March 29, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had a telephone conversation with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at the U.S. side’s request. The diplomats continued discussing the crisis in Ukraine and considered a schedule of future contacts on the issue.

The day before, Lavrov re-affirmed that Russia did not have the slightest intention to cross the Ukrainian border.

“We only want this work to be collective. We also want to see an end to the rowdy behavior (by extremists) which the West has been trying to hush up and present in serene colors. They should realize their responsibility,” the Russian foreign minister said.

Western countries have suggested setting up a contact group which would expect Moscow to sit down to talks with people who seized power in Kiev. Russia considers such format to be “absolutely unacceptable.”

“My last meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in The Hague and my contacts with Germany, France and some other countries show that a possible joint initiative, which could be submitted to our Ukrainian colleagues, is taking shape,” Lavrov said.

“It is very important because until recently our partners have suggested creating a contact group in which Russia was supposed to negotiate, under supervision, with those who have seized power in Kiev. This format is absolutely unacceptable,” Lavrov said.

Kerry’s visit to Paris has been unplanned. He seriously adjusted his initial plans on Saturday. Kerry was returning from his MidEast tour where he had accompanied President Obama. Kerry’s plane made a U-turn over the Atlantic and made a refueling stop in Ireland. Journalists were told the Kerry was heading for Paris to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

The news about the Lavrov-Kerry meeting was a surprise for Paris.

“The (French) foreign ministry does not have any information about the forthcoming talks,” a French Foreign Ministry source told Itar-Tass. Lavrov and Kerry are expected to meet each other on Sunday evening.

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