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Lavrov to attend UN meeting in Geneva, hold talks with Kerry

March 02, 2015, 3:48 UTC+3 GENEVA

The foreign minister will open a high-level discussion focused on protecting Christians around the world

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GENEVA, March 2. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday plans to attend a session of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva and hold several bilateral meetings with foreign counterparts, including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said Russia was expected to put forward an initiative in Geneva to adopt a statement by the president of the Human Rights Council for the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two.

"We hope for a constructive approach from all delegations concerned," the ministry said.

On the sidelines of the session, Lavrov will also open a high-level discussion focused on protecting Christians around the world, it said.

"Russia is seriously concerned about conflicts in the Middle East, which has been a centre of all monotheistic religions from time immemorial. Unfortunately, Christians do not only suffer persecution or discrimination in the course of these conflicts but also become the victims of actions that can be defined as genocide," the ministry said.

Russian diplomats noted developments in Ukraine "where in the course of the fratricidal war unleashed by the Kiev authorities, Orthodox churches and monasteries are being destroyed while priests and the faithful are being intimidated and harassed by Ukrainian nationalists."

During his trip to Geneva, Lavrov is due to participate in events of the U.N. Conference on Disarmament. The foreign minister will also hold a number of bilateral meetings.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said last week the situation in Ukraine and the implementation of an agreement reached in Minsk would feature high on the agenda of Lavrov’s meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Ryabkov did not rule out a meeting between Lavrov and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif, who is expected to attend the Human Rights Council session on March 2.

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