Lavrov and Tillerson to meet in Alaska next week

AFP , Monday 1 May 2017

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will meet in Alaska on May 10 or 11 on the sidelines of an Arctic summit, Russia's foreign ministry said Monday.

The meeting was agreed on during a telephone conversation between Lavrov and Tillerson, according to a statement from the ministry.

Lavrov's attendance at the gathering of ministers of eight Arctic countries will be his first trip to the US since US President Donald Trump took office in January.

Tillerson visited Russia last month where he met with Lavrov and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In their brief telephone conversation, Lavrov and Tillerson also discussed an international meeting on Syria scheduled to take place in Astana, Kazakhstan on May 3-4, according to the statement.

American missile strikes on a Syrian air base last month in retaliation for a suspected chemical attack in Khan Sheikhun by the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad heightened tensions between Washington and Moscow.

In response, Russia, Syria's main ally, suspended an agreement with the US designed to prevent clashes between their airforces in Syrian airspace.

Officials from the eight countries bordering the Arctic will meet in Fairbanks, Alaska to discuss environmental protection of the region from May 10-11.

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