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    Missile Defense Not on Agenda at Talks With US State Undersecretary - Moscow

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    The issue of missile defense will not be discussed with US Under Secretary for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon on Friday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told Sputnik on Monday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Earlier, Christopher Ford, the US president's special counterproliferation assistant, said that the discussions between Russia and the United States on ballistic missile defense issue would be qualitatively different if threats posed by North Korea and Iran were brought under control.

    "No, arms control issues, strategic stability, international issues are not included in the agenda of the June 23 meeting," Ryabkov said of upcoming talks in St. Petersburg.

    Previously Thomas Shannon stated that the United States was ready to communicate with Russia on Anatoly Antonov's possible appointment as Russian ambassador to the country, so that could be an issue.

    Sergey Kislyak has been serving as Russia's ambassador to the United States since 2008. His replacement with Antonov has been approved by the foreign affairs committee of the lower house of the Russian parliament, the State Duma.

    The upcoming meeting with US Under Secretary for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon will hopefully help achieve progress on bilateral agenda between Russia and the United States, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told Sputnik on Monday.

    "I am hopeful, and we are calling on our US colleagues for that, that they will arrive at this event with an aim to at least define approximate outlines of at least several issues of what and how we need to do, if not with an aim to find a settlement," Ryabkov said.

    The representatives of Russia and the United States often meet only to "hear the long-known positions of each other," the senior diplomat added.

    "Of course, there will be some repetitions, and, as they say, repetition is the mother of all learning, but in the end, progress is needed. We need to show that our work with our US colleagues has a prospect, that it does not come down to exchange of mutual reproaches, complaints, endless lamentations on circumstances, and so on. The topics that matter, such as diplomatic property, activity of diplomatic staff, humanitarian issues, — these topics basically have chances for progress," Ryabkov explained.

    The diplomat stressed that Russia would try to realize these changes at least in an initial format, and "will try to make it so that a certain dynamic appears, that this is not the end of our discussion of bilateral issues with Shannon."

    US Under Secretary for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon's visit to St. Petersburg this Friday would lay the groundwork for talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump, Ryabkov added.

    "If it goes in the right direction and with the right spirit, it would probably help us better prepare for a high-level meeting. But I draw your attention to the fact that there is nothing to report on the high-level contact," the Deputy Foreign Minister said.

    Ryabkov noted that "the better we prepare, the more likely that the leaders will see this work as a good contribution to the success of their contact."

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