Western leaders in Moscow, day two: John Kerry
A meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin, US Secretary of State John Kerry, who is paying a visit to Moscow now, and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov took place tonight at the Kremlin. Kerry and Lavrov told the head of state about the outcome of the negotiations that took place this afternoon.
The meeting was attended by Russia’s presidential aide Yuri Ushakov and the US Ambassador to Russia John Tefft.
At the beginning of the meeting, Vladimir Putin stated that Russia is always happy when representatives of Washington pay visits, which take place in a business environment and provide a chance to advance on serious issues.
"We are really pleased to see you. I say it without any jokes. As a rule, we manage to achieve some common grounds, we manage to move forward to solve bilateral and international issues,’’ the head of state said.
John Kerry expressed his condolences on behalf of President Barack Obama in connection with the plane crash that occurred on March 19th in Rostov-on-Don, RIA Novosti reports.
The head of the State Department also offered assistance in the investigation into the tragedy.
The Secretary of State expressed gratitude to Putin for his time. "I know that you have a very busy schedule today, but, nevertheless, we are very excited to have serious talks regarding serious things," he stressed.
A key theme of the meeting, as was previously reported, was the situation in Syria. Kerry said that Russia and the United States managed to achieve what many perceived to be impossible – a ceasefire in the country.
"Many observers believed that the cessation of hostilities was something that was impossible to achieve. However, we realized it thanks to both our military and political cooperation, and a lot of effort," he said.
This morning Kerry met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. The talks lasted about four hours. In the course of them the foreign ministers discussed bilateral relations, Syria and Ukraine, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova said.
Firstly, the US Secretary of State congratulated the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia on his birthday. "I hope that our discussions today will be successful and I want to use this moment to wish you a happy birthday. I hope that this date will give you more wisdom to conduct these negotiations,’’ RIA Novosti cites Kerry as saying.
The President of the National Strategy Institute, Mikhail Remizov, said that the synchronicity of Kerry’s and Steinmeier’s visit means special meetings: Syria should be the main focus during talks with the US Secretary during the negotiations with the Foreign Minister of Germany.
"I think we should not exclude the fact that they demand some concessions from Moscow regarding Ukraine, as there is aggravation at the fronts now,’’ he added.
According to the expert, the West is trying to build a new format of the dialogue with Moscow after the situation with Crimea, when the dialogue was actually frozen. "Now it has resumed, but it is too early to speak about any success,’’ Mikhail Remizov concluded.