Upon meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Sunday in Paris to discuss a diplomatic solution to the situation in Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that their positions are “getting closer” in alignment.
Kerry had left a trip to the Middle East, but touched down in Ireland to refuel his plane, and turned around to head to Paris. Kerry arrived at Lavrov’s Parisian residence, the two posed for a picture, and then commenced a meeting to devise a strategy to help ease the most significant East-West standoff since the end of the Cold War. The meeting took place behind closed doors.
Today’s meeting is said to be a followup to the phone call Russian President Vladimir Putin made to President Obama on Friday to discuss a plan concerning how to peacefully resolve the international standoff over Ukraine, which was an unexpected move by Moscow to attempt to tone down the escalating situation that has unnerved Europe and much of the world.
— Department of State (@StateDept) March 26, 2014
U.S. officials have said that the plan Kerry took to Paris includes the disarmament of irregular forces, international watchdogs to protect minority rights, direct communication between Russia and Ukraine and Ukrainian political and constitutional reforms. Kerry’s meeting with Lavrov reportedly lasted four hours, though the results are yet unknown.
Kerry and Lavrov have been on the phone almost daily and have met several times in person since the beginning of the crisis in Ukraine, but have not yet agreed on how to move forward. The two met last week in The Hague, where Kerry presented Lavrov with the proposal, as a response to a plan Lavrov had mapped out during a March 10th meeting in London.
Lavrov had told Russia’s Channel One television station Sunday that “We have absolutely no intention of, or interest in, crossing Ukraine’s borders.”
Moreover, the Kremlin stated Putin had directed Obama’s attention to a “rampage of extremists” in Ukraine and suggested “possible steps by the international community to help stabilize the situation” in the region.
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