Kerry, Lavrov Tackle Syria, Adoptions in ‘Constructive’ Talks

Kerry, Lavrov Tackle Syria, Adoptions in ‘Constructive’ Talks
# 26 February 2013 21:24 (UTC +04:00)

“No one will solve the Syrians’ problems for them, but in order for this solution to be discussed, it’s necessary to sit down at the negotiating table,” Lavrov said following the nearly two-hour meeting with Kerry in the German capital.

US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland speaking in Berlin, said Kerry and Lavrov spent more than half of their meeting discussingSyria in what she called a "really serious and hardworking session,” The Associated Press reported.

The two top diplomats discussed how to implement the so-called “Geneva Agreement” aimed at getting the Syrian government and the opposition to plan a transitional government for the time after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad steps down, the AP reported.

“Regarding Syria, the most important thing is that we confirmed our mutual understanding that the continuation of violence is unacceptable,” Lavrov said.

Lavrov called Tuesday’s bilateral talks “constructive” and said he felt Kerry is open to a partnership between the two countries despite disagreements.

“There is a sense that Barack Obama’s second administration, with regards to foreign policy led by John Kerry, will strive to play a more constructive role” in issues such as the adoption of Russia children by Americans and the so-called “Magnitsky Act” that Washington enacted to punish Russian officials it deems guilty of rights abuses, Lavrov said.

Lavrov said Kerry vowed to personally take measures to ensure transparency with regards to Russian children adopted by US parents.

“We discussed in detail the problems with adopted Russian children,” Lavrov said following the meeting. “John Kerry admitted that these problems are not trumped-up … and gave assurance that he will personally undertake all necessary measures to ensure complete transparency and accountability for us in this sphere.”

The issue of safety of Russian adoptees in the United States has helped bring bilateral ties between the two countries to one of their lowest points since the end of the Cold War.

Citing numerous abuse cases and fatalities involving adopted Russian children in the United States, Moscow last month banned US citizens from adopting Russian children in what some see as a response the Magnitsky Act, which became law in December.

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