Kerry – Lavrov Meeting in Sochi: Hot Potatoes and Thawing Relations?

"Friday Munich Security Conference 2014 MSC50 (12241878315)" by U.S. Consulate General Munich from Germany

“Friday Munich Security Conference 2014 MSC50 (12241878315)” by U.S. Consulate General Munich from Germany

Sochi, Russia (nsnbc) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held a four-hour-long meeting in the Russian city of Sochi. The agenda and statements by both Lavrov and Kerry could signal thawing relations between Russia and the United States.

Few exact details about the talks between the Russian and the U.S.’ delegations led by Lavrov and Kerry have emerged. What is certain, however, is that Russian – U.S. differences with regards to Ukraine and thawing the tense relations between the two countries has been on the agenda. Both Lavrov and Kerry didn’t disclose many details after their four-hour-long meeting. Asked about how the meeting went, Lavrov replied that it went “wonderfully.”

Kerry and Lavrov have, over the years, developed an easy-going diplomatic rapport that helps de-fuse tensions during negotiations about hard issues and hot potatoes.

There was, however, no lack of symbolic positioning and posturing. The Russian Tass news agency reported that Lavrov presented Kerry a Russian Victory Day T-shirt, potatoes and a basket of tomatoes. Awake observers might have noticed that the Russian vegetables which Kerry received are GMO-free; Something that is hard to come by in the “free West.”

Kerry, who previously had denounced the state funded Russian TV-channel RT as a propaganda bullhorn reportedly handed Lavrov a list with media statements and headlines which Kerry meant were not exactly helpful with regard to relations between Russia and the United States. What awake observers might have noticed is that Kerry would like the U.S. to expand and modernize the State Department’s propaganda bullhorn, that is The Voice of America (VOA). Earlier this year Kerry suggested that VOA also needed to broadcast in Russian and other languages.

It is noteworthy that Kerry’s visit comes only days after German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Moscow for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and that Merkel said that Germany and the EU do not see the newly established EEU as a competition, but rather as an opportunity for greater integration of the European and Eurasian markets.

Both the United States and the UK have been sidelined in talks about Ukraine within the Normandy Group format. Kerry’s visit to Sochi was, arguably, based on the recognition that the current Atlantic Axis’ policy is isolating the USA and UK and weakening their sway over continental European politics. Kerry will, arguably, carry a couple of hot potatoes into the White House. Bon a petite.

CH/L – nsnbc 12.05.2015

Author: Christof Lehmann

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