The talks between Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US State Secretary John Kerry have finished in Berlin. According to Victoria Nuland, the spokesperson for the United States Department of State, half of the meeting which lasted 1 hour 45 minutes was devoted to such issues as the crisis in Syria. According to the first reports, the diplomats also discussed the situation in Iran, the nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula and the fate of Russian orphans adopted by US foster parents.

On the eve of the meeting there were reports in Russian media that Russia and the US were close to the breakthrough in the bilateral talks on the issue anti-ballistic missile system in Europe. According to those reports the presidents of Russia and the US would soon exchange political declarations fixing the commitment of the two countries to cooperation on ABM issue and not to use their military potentials against each other. For signing such an document Barack Obama would not have ask for the approval of the Congress. However, after his meeting with John Kerry Lavrov denied these reports.

The Voice of Russia has asked Dmitri Danilov, Head of Department of European Security, Institute of Europe, to comment on the situation.

“The Russia-U.S. and Russia-NATO relationships on the missile defense issue are clearly stalemating. Our partners are taking no heed of our concerns or proposals. Meanwhile, it is absolutely evident that the current situation suits neither of the sides, because tension reduces chances for further cooperation – not only in the military-political field, but in a broader context. Much may depend on what Obama’s Administration will offer during his new term in office. It’s important to demonstrate the ability to move forward, half-opening the door to a future rapprochement and seeing how it may work. If new prospects for political dialogue or breakthrough on missile defense emerge, the negotiating process will certainly intensify. So far, it is not a matter of any concrete agreements between Russia and the United States, but of not losing the opportunities for such agreements. Naturally, the United States will continue to insist that a bilateral legally binding treaty guaranteeing that the American missile defense does not target Russia’s interests is hardly possible,” the expert said.


Meeting with US Secretary of State Kerry is constructive – Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is satisfied with results of a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that took place in Berlin on Tuesday.

“In my opinion the conversation was constructive. I felt the desire of my counterpart John Kerry to built relationship based on partnership without of course turning a blind eye to issues irritating our relations,” Lavrov told journalists after the meeting with Kerry.

The meeting lasted more than two hours and the parties discussed almost every aspect of bilateral Russian-U.S. relations, as well as key issues on the international agenda making a stress on the Middle East situation, Lavrov said.

Speaking about irritants in Russian-U.S. relations, he said that he means the recently passed Magnitsky Act, as well as problems with Russian children adopted in the United States.

Kerry will personally ensure transparency of adoptions of Russian children by US families – Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said US Secretary of State John Kerry has promised him that he will personally take measures to ensure transparency in the area of adoptions of Russian children by US families, a Voice of Russia correspondent reports.

“We extensively discussed problems surrounding adopted Russian children. John Kerry acknowledged that this problem is not farfetched but is real and assured me that he will personally take all the necessary measures to ensure full transparency and accountability for us in this area in the U.S.,” Lavrov told journalists following a meeting with Kerry in Berlin on Tuesday.

“I believe this is a very important statement. We will seek to make sure that these words are turned into practical deeds,” Lavrov said.

Russia, US determined to facilitate dialogue between Syrian govt, opposition – Lavrov

Russia and the United States are determined to do whatever they can to create conditions facilitating the beginning of a dialogue between the Syrian government and the opposition as soon as possible, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said following talks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Berlin on Tuesday.

“As concerns Syria, the most important is that we have reaffirmed our common understanding that we cannot tolerate violence and, through this understanding, our determination to do everything that depends on Russia and the U.S. Surely, not everything depends on us, but we will be doing what does depend on us in order to create conditions facilitating the soonest possible beginning of a dialogue between the government and the opposition,” Lavrov said at a press conference following the talks.

“Nobody will resolve the problem for the Syrians themselves, but for discussions on this resolution to begin, it is necessary to sit at the negotiating table,” he said.

Lavrov denies that Russia, US preparing to exchange declarations on missile defense

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has denied media reports alleging that Russia and the U.S. are preparing to exchange declarations on cooperation on missile defense and on guarantees that it will not be directed against Russia’s interests, a Voice of Russia correspondent reports.

“I have read these reports and talked with their authors. I don’t know the author’s sources, but there are no grounds for such reports whatsoever. I don’t know where this information came from,” Lavrov said following a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Berlin on Tuesday.

Lavrov confirms Obama has invitation to visit Russia

US Barack Obama has an invitation to visit Russia, “and we expect that he is giving it consideration,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday.

Lavrov, who was speaking after talks in Berlin with US Secretary of State John Kerry, was answering a question from a reporter when the next Russian-American summit could be expected.

Lavrov, Westerwelle hold talks in Berlin

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is holding talks with his German counterpart Guido Westerwelle in Berlin behind closed doors.

Lavrov is due to meet with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Berlin later in the day.

Lavrov, Kerry to hold talks in Berlin

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is expected to meet with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Berlin on Tuesday. At the meeting, “the two countries’ highest-ranking diplomats will discuss a wide range of issues on the bilateral agenda and key international problems,” the Russian ministry said earlier.

Lavrov, for his part, said that he was going to raise the issue of international law violations by the U.S. during the talks with Kerry.

“If the country wants its actions to be perceived right, the only way is to observe international law,” Lavrov said while meeting with students at the Diplomatic Academy on Monday.

“I am hoping to address specific examples, including the Syrian crisis, when I meet with John Kerry in Berlin tomorrow,” the minister said.

The U.S. Department of State, for its part, said that during the meeting with Lavrov, Kerry would try to persuade Moscow to change its opinion on the Syrian crisis.

U.S. officials, however, admitted that they did not expect this meeting to produce a breakthrough in terms of securing changes in Russia’s stance on the conflict in Syria.

Russia’s decision to ban Americans from adopting Russian children will be addressed as well, the Department of State said.

Like all countries, the U.S. seeks to protect each child, and it is discouraged by the idea that these tragic accidents (the deaths of Russian children adopted by U.S. citizens) resulted in this ban. There are lots of orphans in Russia whom loving American families would be glad to adopt, but they are unable to do so because of the ban, it said. Diplomats in Moscow also said that Lavrov planned to discuss the fate of Russian children adopted by U.S. citizens at his meeting with Kerry.

The death of Maxim Kuzmin (Max Shatto), a three-year-old Russian boy adopted by a U.S. family, will be in a focus of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s negotiations next week, Russian Foreign Ministry Human Rights Commissioner Konstantin Dolgov said. Kerry will visit the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates during his first foreign trip as U.S. secretary of state from February 24 to March 6.

Lavrov and Kerry discussed the Syrian crisis and the situation on the Korean peninsula following North Korea’s recent nuclear test over the phone last week. It will be Lavrov’s first meeting with Kerry, who was officially appointed as U.S. secretary of state on February 2 after heading the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations for four years.

Voice of Russia, TASS, Interfax

http://english.ruvr.ru/2013_02_26/Russia-s-FM-US-State-Secretary-meet-in-Berlin/