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Lavrov, Kerry to discuss situation in Ukraine, bilateral agenda

May 12, 2015, 2:06 UTC+3 SOCHI
Kerry has not visited Russia since May 2013
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SOCHI, May 12. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry are expected to meet here on Tuesday for a discussion of a broad spectrum of current problems in international relations, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Monday.

Kerry has not visited Russia since May 2013. The then visit to Moscow resulted in an agreement of principle to hold the Geneva-2 conference on settling the civil conflict in Syria.

U.S. officials said on Monday President Vladimir Putin might receive Kerry in Sochi but the presidential Press Secretary, Dmitry Peskov, did not confirm the information later.

"This trip is part of our ongoing effort to maintain direct lines of communication with senior Russian officials and to ensure US views are clearly conveyed," Marie Harf, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State said in a written statement.

The settling of the conflict in Ukraine will make up the central bloc of issues, which Lavrov and Kerry are going to discuss, Ryabkov said. When a reporter asked him if a possibility of the U.S. inclusion in the so-called ‘Normandy format’ might be discussed, he said he did not see any grounds speak about the issue at the moment.

"The Minsk accords do exist and no one has revoked them," he said. "Four workgroups and subgroups have gotten down to work. If the U.S. wants to facilitate the Minsk accords, it should keep up closer direct communications with Kiev."

He said, among other things, that Russia would not probe into a possibility of the lifting of Western sanctions against it.

"It wasn’t us who initiated the problem and we’re not acting as the instigators or masterminds of one or another downturn," Ryabkov said, adding however that Moscow would listen to Washington if the latter has anything to say in this respect.

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