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Lavrov and Kerry to discuss all outstanding problems at talks in Sochi, says top diplomat

May 11, 2015, 21:55 updated at: May 11, 2015, 22:49 UTC+3 SOCHI
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SOCHI, May 11./TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry will focus on international agenda and problems souring bilateral ties at their talks in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Tuesday, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told TASS on Monday.

"They will have time to systematically and profoundly discuss point by point the very difficult agenda that is not improving," the diplomat said.

Ryabkov said Kerry visited Russia in May 2013, quite a long time ago, thought the two diplomats maintain contacts on a regular basis. He confirmed that special attention at talks would be paid to the crisis in Ukraine.

In reply to the question whether the US could join the Normandy format, he said "I don’t see grounds for discussing this at all at the moment, because the Minsk agreements do exist, nobody has cancelled them, and four working groups and subgroups have been launched".

"If the US wants to help in the implementation of the Minsk agreements, it must more actively work with Kiev directly," he added.

Sanctions against Russia are not on the agenda at the talks, Ryabkv told Tass.

"We are ready to discuss the whole range of issues, but we have no intention to discuss sanctions," he said. "We did not initiate the issue, and we are not instigators and initiators of this or that escalation," he said.

"If the secretary of state finds it necessary to state something on this issue, we will listen to this, but strictly speaking the issue is not on the agenda" he said.

He said international security would also be top on the agenda, with the sides having "big plans" as to the issue. "The Review Conference on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons is under way in New York at the moment," he said.

"Even proceeding from what has been published over the past few weeks, you can see that quite a lot of points at issue and disagreement exist in that sphere," Ryabkov said.

He said discussion on the treaty on medium-and shorter-range missiles could not be ruled out at talks, noting that Russia and the US had major differences on the treaty.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry will also discuss fight against terrorism and extremism at talks in Sochi, the top diplomat said.

He said the sides were expected to discuss "a possible deepening of bilateral cooperation in fight against violent extremism and terrorism, where the US position concerning ISIS, the expansion of the UN sanction lists, as well activity of the Global Counterterrorism Forum is sometimes unclear to us".

Iran will also be a top focus at the talks, he added, noting certain progress at talks on Iran’s nuclear dossier.

"We are approaching the deadline of June 30, and it is very important to get respective political impetuses," he said.

Russia expects the US will take into regard Moscow’s stance regional issues. "Yemen, Syria and Libya - points of coincidence exist on each of these sections, but there are also major contradictions," he said.

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