US Secretary of State Kerry in Russia

Kerry will "make another stab" at seeing if the United States and Russia can work together to find a political solution to end Syria's civil war when he visits Moscow

US Secretary of State Kerry in Russia

World Bulletin/News Desk

US Secretary of State John Kerry is visiting Moscow, the capital of Russia, for a two-day formal visit.

Kerry will hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov respectively.

The Syria crisis, Russia-US relations, missile shield system and Iran's nuclear program are expected to be on their agenda.

Earlier, Lavrov said he hoped the talks would be constructive.

In his first visit to Russia as the secretary of state, Kerry will be meeting with Lavrov for the fourth time. 

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the U.S. official said he did not know if Washington and Moscow might be able to move forward on a political plan for Syria that they endorsed on June 30, 2012, but that has since gone nowhere.

That plan, agreed to in Geneva, was aimed at resolving through talks among all sides a civil war that has cost more than 70,000 lives, but it left open the question of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's exact fate.

Russia says his exit from power must not be a precondition for a dialogue among Syrians to end the conflict.

"We have their formal commitment with their agreement to the Geneva Communique of June 30th 2012 but now we need to go beyond formal commitments like that to figure out if there are ways to actually build off of it," said the U.S. official.

"It is no secret that so far we have not been able to do that but we certainly want to try to make another stab at it, to make another effort at it, because events on the ground have become steadily worse," he added.

"The casualty figures are mounting, the rate of killing has gone up and as the Israeli strikes show, the situation is adding to instability in the region," the official said.

U.S.-Russian ties have been strained by many issues over the last year, among them Syria, what the United States views as a Russian crackdown on Russian civil society and pro-democracy groups and a dispute over U.S. adoptions of Russian children.

Russia, backed by China, has refused to consider sanctions on Assad's government, vetoing three U.N. Security Council resolutions condemning his crackdown on opposition groups.

Russia, which maintains a naval base in Syria, supplies arms to Assad's government and but says it is not delivering weapons that could be used in the civil war. Moscow has vehemently opposed arming or supporting the rebels.

Kerry on Wednesday will travel to Rome where he will meet with Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who has special responsibility for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, the State Department said.

He will also meet Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh in Rome. The meetings are part of Kerry's effort to find a way to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, which fell apart in 2010 in a dispute over Israel's construction of Jewish settlements on West Bank land the Palestinians want for a state.

He will meet with Italian officials to discuss issues including Afghanistan, Syria and the Middle East, the State Department said.

 

Last Mod: 07 Mayıs 2013, 12:13
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