Kerry likely to visit Moscow, says Lavrov

Newly-appointed U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry may visit Russia shortly as Moscow and Washington are trying to mend their strained relations.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced Mr. Kerry’s visit after meeting U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden at an international conference in Munich on Saturday.

“Biden confirmed to me that Kerry has received my invitation to visit Moscow and expects to make use of it soon,” Mr. Lavrov told Russian media aboard his plane from Munich to Moscow.

Mr. Lavrov also said U.S. National Security Advisor Tom Donilon plans to visit Moscow shortly, “probably this month”.

The visits will give the two sides an opportunity to ease tensions caused in recent months by disagreements over human rights and Syria.

The U.S. enraged the Kremlin by passing a law in December that bars U.S. entry to Russians blamed for the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky and other human rights abuses. Russia retaliated imposing similar sanctions against Americans accused of violating human rights and banning the adoption of Russian children by Americans.

The two countries have also been at odds over the conflict in Syria, with Russia strongly critical of U.S. support for armed rebels and Washington blaming Moscow for backing Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.

However, the meeting between Mr. Lavrov and Mr. Biden, the first high-level contact between Russia and the U.S. after President Barack Obama’s re-election, appeared to have revived the spirit of the ‘reset’, which the U.S. Vice-President had also proclaimed in Munich four years ago.

Emerging from the meeting Mr. Lavrov said the two sides had agreed that differences and problems should be resolved on the basis of equality and respect for mutual interests.

Solutions

“There is an understanding on both sides, that along with differences that need to be addressed to find mutually acceptable solutions, we have very many common interests in the field of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, fight against terrorism, drug trafficking, organised crime,” Russia’s top diplomat said.