BLINKEN, LAVROV TO MEET DURING ARCTIC SUMMIT NEXT WEEK
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken plan to meet in person on the sidelines of an Arctic summit due to take place in Iceland next week, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) reported.
The two will discuss "key issues of mutual relations and the international agenda" during their meeting, planned for May 20, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
The US State Department also confirmed the date and said the two top diplomats had spoken by phone. "Secretary Blinken reiterated President Biden’s resolve to protect US citizens and act firmly in defense of US interests in response to actions by Russia that harm us or our allies," a statement said. The two also discussed the situation in North Korea.
Whether the topic of a possible meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden will be raised during the Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting in Reykjavik was not known.
Biden had suggested the two meet in a third country at a summit, but it is unclear whether Putin will accept the invitation. The meeting marks the end of Iceland's two-year chairmanship of the Arctic cooperation forum, which then passes on to Russia for the next two years.
The meetings are held every two years and this year's is to provide an overview of the council's achievement during Iceland's leadership. Alongside Russia and the US, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Canada, Norway and Sweden are also members of the council.