Blinken To Meet Russia’s Lavrov For First Time

Washington: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will on Wednesday meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov for the first time, on the margins of the Arctic Council ministerial meeting in Iceland, a Department of State spokesman said.

“The bilateral meeting will take place after the evening’s final Arctic Council event and will provide an opportunity to test the proposition of whether we can achieve a relationship with Moscow that is more stable and predictable,” Ned Price said in a statement on Tuesday evening, DPA news agency reported.

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the face-to-face between Lavrov and Blinken was arranged to discuss “key issues of mutual relations and the international agenda.”

A topic expected to be discussed will be a potential meeting between US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.

The US president had suggested the two meet in a third country at a summit, but it is unclear whether Putin will accept the invitation.

Biden will take his first overseas trip as president in June, when he is scheduled to attend the G7 summit in Britain and then travel to Belgium for meetings with NATO. Top-level talks with EU officials are also planned.

US-Russia ties have nose-dived over Washington’s allegations of election interference and cyberattacks, the treatment of jailed Russian dissident Alexei Navalny and the conflict in eastern Ukraine. The two sides have imposed a wave of sanctions and counter-sanctions.

(IANS)