Moscow and Washington agree on preservation and intensification of bilateral dialogue

The Russian President Vladimir Putin, the US Secretary of State John Kerry and the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov have agreed to organize a regular review of the US-Russian relations to resolve the existing difficulties, the Russian Foreign Minister said.

"We have agreed to organize a regular review of our relations in order to find mutually acceptable solutions on a number of issues," Interfax cited him as saying.
"A similar approach is needed in our international affairs cooperation," the minister noted.

"The atmosphere of the Russian-American dialogue has direct influence on the efforts of the international community to settle many topical issues," he stressed.

Lavrov recalled that there are still disagreements between Russia and the United States about the missile defense system and about the INF Treaty and the NATO expansion. 

One of the key topics of the meeting was the situation in Syria. The sides agreed to intensify their efforts to create conditions for the political process in the SAR. "And as the next step, we have agreed to begin the direct talks in Geneva between the delegation of the government and all the range of opposition groups in order to fully implement the parameters of the UN Security Council Resolution 2264 about the processes which would form the transitory governing structure and lead to an agreement on the new constitution and free elections based on this new constitution," Lavrov said.

John Kerry, in his turn, added that they need to take immediate steps to reinforce the cessation of hostilities, "including by working to end the use of any indiscriminate weapons, to halt attempts by either side to seize new territory. That is, to finalize a common understanding for how this cessation can be institutionalized, how it can work even more effectively."

According to the head of the State Department, the sides also agreed to "expand the humanitarian access to the blocked regions in Syria."

He also believes that Damascus and the opposition need to begin releasing detainees and "they need to begin as soon as possible."

Kerry expressed hope that a draft constitution of Syria will be developed by August.

Speaking about the fate of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the US Secretary of State said that "Russia will have to speak for itself as to what it’s going to choose to do in order to help Assad make the right decisions."

The sides also agreed on the need for special consultations on cyber crimes. "Today, we have agreed to discuss the problems of cyber crimes, but the fact that many Russian citizens are arrested in third countries and then extradited to the US – they are accused of cyber crimes," Sergey Lavrov noted.

"We believe that our proposal to activate expert consultations between our prosecutor general’s office and the ministry of justice of the US on the practical issues of cooperation in stopping cyber crime would be supported," he added.

The conversation also touched upon the terrorist attacks in Brussels. "So today I think it is fair to say that we reached a better understanding of the decisions that President Putin has made of late and also of the path forward in Syria," Kerry said.

The US Secretary of State said that Washington is ready to lift sanctions against Russia, but the Minsk agreements must be fully implemented. "I reinforced President Obama’s pledge to roll back sanctions when all of the provisions of Minsk are complete, including the withdrawal of all weapons and fighters and the return of Ukraine’s sovereign border," he said.

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