John Kerry to meet with Putin, Lavrov to discuss Syria & Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. © Mandel Ngan
US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow next week to discuss the situation in Syria and Ukraine, the US State Department has announced.

“The Secretary will then visit Moscow, Russia, on December 15, to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov,” State Department deputy spokesperson Mark Toner said in a Friday statement.

He added that the leaders will discuss ongoing efforts to solve the Syrian crisis, the situation in Ukraine, and efforts to defeat Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL). 

Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs also announced the meeting.

"The situation in Russian-American relations remain difficult," the ministry said, citing "confrontational steps" taken by Washington surrounding the Ukraine crisis.

It said it hopes Kerry's visit "will help improve relations between the US and Russia, as the climate on the global arena hugely depends on them." 

Acknowledging the Syrian crisis, the ministry stated that Moscow aims for cooperation with Washington in fighting terrorism.

It noted that Russia is "actively working with the US and other partners to create the conditions to start the political process on the basis of the Geneva communiqué of 2012."

This will be Kerry's second visit to Moscow this year. The secretary of state met with Lavrov in Sochi in May, during which the Russian foreign minister presented Kerry with a Victory Day t-shirt and baskets of potatoes and tomatoes.

The meeting will take place one day after Kerry attends talks on the Syrian crisis in Paris.