Upcoming visit of Kerry to Russia will not be a repetition of the May visit

Upcoming visit of Kerry to Russia will not be a repetition of the May visit

US Secretary of State John Kerry announced that next week he will visit Russia.

"I'm going to Moscow next week and will be meeting with him (President Vladimir Putin) and (Foreign Minister Sergei) Lavrov to discuss Syria and Ukraine," TASS quotes him as saying.

"If we can bring our positions close enough to realize that a positive result for all of us, the preservation of Syria and a political settlement (in the country), will be a huge achievement. That's why I'm going there," Kerry said.

He also noted the constructive approach of the Russian Federation in resolving the Syrian crisis and, in particular, Moscow's help in organizing the talks in Vienna, expressing confidence that Russia is sincerely set for success in this process.

At the same time, the Secretary of State did not mention the exact date of the visit.

In turn, the head of the Kremlin press service, Dmitry Peskov, has admitted that a meeting between John Kerry and Vladimir Putin may, in fact, take place. "We do not exclude it," he said.

The Director of the Institute of Political Studies, Sergei Markov, said that in the time that has elapsed since the May visit of John Kerry to Russia, the agenda has changed significantly. "Ukraine is leaving the central focus. Instead, the Syrian issue is coming more and more to the fore. I mean that the powerful attacks in Paris were prepared from the territory of Syria and Iraq. And the Syrian issue turned out to be burdened with the intervention of Turkey. Many, of course, like the conflict between Russia and Turkey, on the other hand I think that Washington is concerned about the possibility of unpredictable scenarios in the conflict," he said,

"So I think that they will be engaged in the most pressing problems. Now this is the creation of a list of organizations that can be considered as terrorist, and those organizations that cannot be considered as terrorist. I do not know if a compromise is possible or not, but the fact is that they will do this for sure. In addition, they will discuss the Turkish border through which the volunteers and money for terrorists are flowing in a massive manner, they have an opportunity to have medical care and go to Europe and arrange the attacks there. And the third problem, which I think they will discuss, is possible talks with Bashar al-Assad, the establishment of indirect cooperation between the US administration and the Damascus authorities and so on. By the way, de facto, it has been already carried out," the expert said.

In his opinion such meetings are very useful. "Within the framework of direct Russian-American contacts, among other things, we were able to solve a lot of problems. In particular, the interaction between the pilots of the US and Russia, resulting in no conflicts between them. Although there are problems," Sergey Markov concluded.

The President of the National Strategy Institute, Mikhail Remizov, has also pointed out the change of the agenda. "I think that some political solutions to the Syrian conflict have come to the fore, and the second thing is the possibility of a ground operation in Syria. It is clear that neither the US nor Russia want a ground operation, but for various reasons they may face the need to implement one in some reduced form. This could also be a subject for dialogue," he said.

The expert recalled that "after Kerry’s trip in May there was a lot of noise and excitement, as it was presented as a discharge of American-Russian relations." "It is unlikely that it was so. Rather, it was a mutual probing of the situation in the first place, even on the part of Kerry, probing the possible reaction of Moscow to exacerbations in Ukraine," Remizov said.

‘’Contacts with the United States are important for Russia now, primarily for discussions about how and under what conditions it is possible to achieve at least intermediate results in Syria. The more we open the Syrian front, the more we will be vulnerable to the rest of the directions of our foreign policy,’’ the head of the National Strategy Institute stressed.

The Deputy Dean of the Faculty of World Economy and International Relations of the HSE, Andrew Suzdaltsev, believes that over the past few months "the theme has become more rigid, but the issues are closer." "Of course, the main topic to be discussed is what to do with Daesh. Here, of course, there are major differences, as we will protect the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and they will protect Erdogan. It turns out that such a wonderful combination of everyone in Syria is due to who supports whom. We will blame the US side, and through them the West, because a real fight against terrorism is not being conducted, and there is a struggle for the demolition of the existing government structures of the Assad regime at the hands of Daesh. That is, the formula ‘these terrorists are bad, and these are good',’’ he said.

‘’The Ukrainian issue linked to the debt that Ukraine is not going to repay will also be on the agenda. There is a political aspect. Yesterday it became clear that the IMF has gone the way of concessions, and announced that these types of debtors will receive a tranche from the IMF, which means that the United States has refused to give us a guarantee for the payment of this debt. This is the second problem. The next problem is likely to be the prolongation of the sanctions against Russia due to the situation in Ukraine. This, in fact, covers every opportunity to create a unified coalition. It is impossible for a country that imposes sanctions against us to be in coalitions. The issues are serious, heavy, I do not think any solutions will be found, but the visit is significant,’’ the expert said.

"It is worth noting that the United States is very positive about any meetings. In addition, the Lavrov-Kerry platform is the only really valid negotiating platform between the US and Russia. We do not know the essence of the negotiations, we know them only through those contradictions that are not resolved. There are plenty of more serious issues around these contradictions, the discussion of which did not even reach the level of the Minister, but still they are being solved. This allows even greater contradictions and strife not to pile up between the two countries, so such meetings are very effective and productive, taking into account that Lavrov and Kerry regard each other with great confidence," Andrei Suzdaltsev concluded.

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