WASHINGTON, August 9 (Itar-Tass) - The Russian Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defense, Sergei Lavrov and Sergei Shoigu, will hold ltalks with their American counterparts, John Kerry and Chuck Hagel, here on Friday in the two-plus-two format.
The foreign-policy and defense chiefs of the two countries last participated in joint consultations in 2008.
The present meeting will be held in a not quite comfortable atmosphere. The White House deemed it advisable to postpone President Barack Obama's September visit to Mosco on the plea of insufficent progress in efforts to resolve issues that are on the common agenda. Although Washington analysts point out that the granting of temporary asylum to CIA's ex-agent Edward Snowden by Russia is only one of the factors that influenced the respective decision, this, as a matter of fact, is the main reason. Preparation for the summit was fruitful enough, analysts point out.
US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said Kerry and Hagel are planning to discuss the entire spectrum of issues with the Russian opposite numbers both those matters on which the sides' positions coincide and those over which there are serious differences. She mentioned Afghanistan, Iran, and the DPRK as the former issues and ABM, arms control, and human rights as the latter ones.
Ms. Psaki acknowledged that the situation around Snowden would be part of the agenda for the consultations. However, she assured, the themes will not figure prominently.
Moscow, for its part, hopes for an earnest discussion of themes relating to anti-missile defense, and efforts towards settling the situation in Syria. A Russian Foreign Ministry official emphasized, "We expect that the American side is getting into the mood for an earnest and constructive discusssion with a view to reaching out to mutually acceptable solutions on ABM."
"As far as Syria is concerned, the sides are to estimate progresss in implementing the earlier reached accords about the holding of a Geneva-2 international conference," the Ministry official pointed out.
The sides are expected to discuss in detail prospects for a further interaction in the sphere of safety of space research activities and non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the Russian Foreign Ministry official said.
At the close of the talks, Lavrov and Shoigu will hold a news conference during which they will make an appraisal of the development of Russia-US dialogue, and tell those present about the results of discussions in this format.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Itar-Tass earlier, "Considering that very many matters which are examined through the Foreign and Defense Ministries are at the junction, at the intersection of interests of the military and diplomats, a resumption of such work with the Americans appears to be of current importance".
Russia has established a machinery for joint consultations between Foreign and Defense Ministers not only wit the United States. It hold similar meetings with the ministers of France, Britain, and Italy.