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Lavrov, Tillerson Meet in Vienna on Syria, Ukraine, Afghanistan

Dec. 8, 2017 (EIRNS)—Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met on the sidelines of a meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Ministerial Council in Vienna. They discussed Syria, North Korea and the Ukraine.

Lavrov informed Tillerson that Russia is ready to help North Korea and the United States establish direct dialogue on security guarantees for Pyongyang.

"We know that North Korea wants first of all to speak with the United States about its security guarantees. We are ready to support it. We are ready to help promote such talks,"

Lavrov stressed. Russia’s Foreign Ministry said,

"The Russian and U.S. top diplomats also expressed common opinion that North Korea must strictly abide by the United Nations Security Council resolutions."

On Syria, the Ministry statement said,

"The sides discussed further steps to put an end to the civil conflict in Syria via establishing a sustainable negotiating process involving all Syrian political forces, including within the Geneva process and in the format of the forthcoming National Dialogue Congress in Sochi, with concurrent completion of the defeat of international terrorist groups."

Tillerson said Ukraine was key obstacle in U.S.-Russia ties but that the U.S. president has always sought to establish good relations with Russia. "We can have differences in other arenas, in Syria. We can have differences in other areas," Tillerson said. "But the issue that stands in the way is Ukraine."

In a separate meeting with members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation monitoring mission in Ukraine, Tillerson said the United States is working with Russia on the UN peacekeeping proposal according to Voice of America. "We are. I’m not going to tell you specifically what we get, but we get progress," said Tillerson, "We get dialogue, we get cooperation. We don’t have it solved. You don’t solve it in one meeting." While both sides have called for a UN peacekeeping force in eastern Ukraine, they disagree on the terms of its deployment.

The two top diplomats also discussed Afghanistan.