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Kerry arrives in Moscow for talks with Russian leaders

Russian President Vladimir Putin will receive U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov later
US State Secretary John Kerry Sergei Fadeichev/TASS
US State Secretary John Kerry
© Sergei Fadeichev/TASS

MOSCOW, July 14 /TASS/. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has landed at Vnukovo-2 government airport in Moscow.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will receive him and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov later on Thursday. The agenda will include Syria, Ukraine and bilateral relations, the Kremlin said. Lavrov and Kerry will hold separate talks on Friday.

This is Kerry's fourth visit to the Russian capital since May 2015. He had nothing in his hands when he was descending the boarding stairs.

The last time Kerry set foot on the Russian soil was in March this year when he was carrying a thick red suitcase in his hands. The journalists immediately started to make guesses about what could be in the handbag. Russian President Vladimir Putin who met Kerry in the Kremlin said, jokingly, that he was sorry that Kerry had to carry his hand luggage himself all the way long.

Kerry said something to his pool today, shortly upon landing, and waved at the Russian journalists from a distance.

But the only thing Kerry has brought with him this time is a number of proposals on Syria.

According to the US newspapers, Kerry has brought a number of initiatives on Syria to Moscow, including a proposal on joint coordination of struggle against terrorism. The United States offers Russia to pass over to closer coordination of military hostilities and joint operations against the Islamic State and Jebhat al-Nusra terrorist groups (both are banned in Russia -TASS). Representatives of the defense and military intelligence agencies will form a working group.

Washington has made shifts in its position on the Jaish al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham terrorist groups. The Russian side, however, prefers to get firsthand information from the US Secretary of State rather than believe newspaper publications.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Russia was open to ideas and proposals. Moscow wants Washington to implement a commitment to withdraw detachments of Syrian opposition forces from terrorist positions. The unjustified delay of a new round of inter-Syrian consultations in Geneva is also perplexing.

As for the Ukraine crisis, the Russian side will highlight the importance of implementing the Minsk Accords by Kiev. Along with sabotaging the political part of the Minsk Accords, the Ukrainian authorities have noticeably increased military activities in Donbass in recent weeks.

Moscow hopes that Kerry’s visit will contribute to improving the atmosphere of Russian-US relations, whose state is crucial for maintaining global stability and resolving a wide range of international problems.