, WASHINGTON, May 6 – US Secretary of State John Kerry is to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday at the start of his first visit to Moscow in a rare break with normal protocol, US officials said on Monday.
“It is quite important that Secretary Kerry will have a substantial, full meeting with President Putin,” a senior State Department official said, asking to remain anonymous.
Russian officials have allotted a lot of time for the meetings, and “we don’t have the opportunity to speak directly to President Putin that often,” he said, acknowledging US-Russian ties were “complex and comprehensive.”
Despite a number of thorny issues which have clouded relations, “our counterparts here have made clear they are ready to engage on Syria, but they have many issues that they want to talk about,” the officials said.
From Syria to the Boston bombings, missile defence, Iran and North Korea and rows over a ban on American adoptions of Russian children and the shuttering of US aid agencies, the plate will be full for the meetings.
The new top US diplomat was due to leave for Moscow later on Monday, arriving Tuesday for talks with Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.