US State Secretary to visit Russia next week

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Washington, April 6 (IANS) US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson plans to meet with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on April 12 in Moscow, where the two diplomats will discuss Ukraine, Syria and the fight against terrorism, the State Department said.

“This trip is part of our effort to maintain direct lines of communication with senior Russian officials and to ensure U.S. views are clearly conveyed,” acting State Department spokesperson Mark Toner said in a statement on Wednesday.

Tillerson plans to discuss the situation in Ukraine, the fight against terrorism, bilateral relations and other matters, including North Korea and Syria, Efe news reported.

The Secretary of State will travel to Russia from Lucca, Italy, where he will participate in the Foreign Ministers Meeting of the G-7, whose members are Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US.

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The 65-year-old Tillerson, who stepped down as chairman and CEO of energy giant ExxonMobil in February, has known Russian President Vladimir Putin for more than two decades.

Putin gave the former oilman Russia’s Order of Friendship in 2013.

Tillerson’s trip to Moscow comes as questions continue to be raised in the US about alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election.

–IANS

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