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    Lavrov's Visit to Washington to 'Pave the Way' For Putin-Trump Meeting

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    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is scheduled to meet with US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Washington DC on Wednesday. The visit, which is expected to focus on the Syrian conflict and the civil war in Ukraine, comes amid high expectations of a thaw between Moscow and Washington.

    Vladimir Dzhabarov, the first deputy chairman of the Federation Council's Committee for International Affairs, told Radio Sputnik that joint counterterrorism activities are the primary topic on which Russia and the United States could find common ground "rather easily."

    "This is the most relevant issue today. This is where we can find areas of common interest. The important thing is that it should not be limited to a statement on joint efforts. Our partners in the United States must make a real contribution to fighting Daesh. In other words, they should not be looking for 'good' and 'bad' terrorists, but focus on tackling all terrorists," he said.

    Dzhabarov pointed out that this would be the first step toward a rapprochement between Moscow and Washington.

    "This way we could find common ground on numerous issues in the Middle East and Syria," he said. "There are other issues that need to be resolved. Clearly, the Ukrainian conflict is one of them. The Minsk agreements have to be observed. This is the only deal that could bring peace to Donbass."

    Russian diplomat Sergei Ordzhonikidze, who served as the Director-General of the UN Office at Geneva from 2002-2011, said that the talks are likely to focus on Syria, Ukraine and the North Korean issue.

    "Clearly, Syria will be the main issue on the agenda. They will also discuss the resolution of the Korean crisis. Americans are also likely to mention Ukraine. When it comes to Syria, we need to reach an agreement on security zones and cooperation between our coalitions. We also need to find common ground on joint counterterrorism efforts beyond Syria. We also need to reach an agreement that the US would not threaten North Korea and Pyongyang would refrain from developing nuclear weapons," he told Radio Sputnik.

    Ordzhonikidze said that relations between Russia and the United States have been overshadowed by numerous points of contention, so both countries need to make small steps to mend them.

    The diplomat also said that Lavrov's visit to Washington would pave the way for Putin's talks with Trump.

    "This is how it usually goes. Foreign ministers prepare meetings for their leaders. They talk over issues so that the heads of state could tackle major challenges without getting into details," he said.

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    Syrian conflict, Syrian crisis, official visit, Vladimir Dzhabarov, Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Sergei Lavrov, Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, United States, Russia
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