Lavrov: no U.S.-Russia deal on Ukraine
Kerry calls on Russia to pull back its forces from Ukraine borders
The United States and Russia failed Sunday to reach an agreement on Ukraine but Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow and Washington had agreed to work with the Ukrainian government and the country’s people to overcome the crisis.
After four hours of discussions, Lavrov said the two parties had presented their plans for a de-escalation of the crisis but did not agree on what had caused it. He reiterated Russia’s belief that federalism in Ukraine would be key to finding a solution.
“We have agreed to work with the Ukrainian government and people to achieve progress in rights of minorities and linguistic rights,” Lavrov told reporters after talks that lasted four hours, Interfax reported.
He also said Russia and the United States agreed it was necessary to seek “points of tangency” in order to reach a common position on the diplomatic resolution of the crisis.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Kerry called on Russia to pull back its forces from the borders of Ukraine, and said that any talks on the country’s future must include Kiev’s leaders.
“We will not accept a path forward where the legitimate govern of Ukraine is not at the table. This principle is clear. No decisions about Ukraine without Ukraine,” Kerry said, according to AFP.
He added “any real progress in Ukraine must include a pullback of the very large Russian force that is currently massing along Ukraine’s borders.”
Lavrov and Kerry met following a phone call between U.S. President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin last week, as both sides move to ease tensions in the worst East-West standoff since the Cold War.
[With Reuters and AFP]
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