Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US State Secretary John Kerry will discuss Ukraine in detail at their meeting in Rome in the context of the ministerial meeting in the Normandy format, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told journalists on Wednesday.
“I think that Ukraine will be extensively discussed, of course,” Ryabkov said. He reminded that the ministerial meeting in the Normandy format was held on November 29. “You know that we maintain close contacts with the US side on this matter. After the Minsk meeting in the Normandy format, it will be natural to discuss this topic with the Russian side,” Ryabkov said.
The foreign ministers of the Normandy Quartet (Russia, Germany, France, Ukraine) did not coordinate the roadmap for implementing the Minsk Agreements aimed at settling the conflict in Ukraine at their meeting on November 29. The task to achieve this by the end of November was set by the leaders of Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France at the Berlin summit on October 19.
Moreover, participants in the meeting noted tougher positions on several key issues, though no one doubted the importance of further efforts in the framework of the Minsk process. “I consider it positive that no doubt was cast on the agreements of the leaders from October 19,” Lavrov said then.
The opposition to improving relations with Russia is too strong in Washington, Ryabkov said. “This heavy atmosphere is only getting thicker. That’s why I do not see grounds for any lengthy talk aimed at a positive result between the ministers in Rome on the issue of Russian-US relations,” Ryabkov told reporters on Wednesday.
Talking about problems in bilateral relations with US, the diplomat said that unfortunately, he sees “no chances to at least get minimal improvement from the outgoing administration, at least fragmented or separate signals that there is still potential for improvement.”
“Because we repeatedly tried this earlier. No words can describe how much efforts, political will and time our minister put into it. We gave Americans documents, and discussions continued on these issues for many hours. However, it seems that the opposition to improving relations with Russia is so strong in Washington that these efforts give no results,” he noted.