Appearing before the media with his Russian counterpart today, Secretary of State John Kerry lauded Moscow for being “a significant contributor to the progress that we’ve been able to make” toward the administration’s foreign policy goals.
Kerry flew to Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who was at Kerry’s side during the press availability.
Press secretary John Kirby told reporters at the State Department on Monday that Kerry was “going with the expectation that there are no preconditions to having this meeting or to having these discussions” about how to end the war in Syria.
Asked if the State Department is bending over backwards to work with Russia despite its provocations, actions and rhetoric, Kirby said Kerry “believes that these are important discussions to be had, that we have made important progress, that there’s a sense of momentum, and he very much wants to see that momentum continue.”
Kerry called it “an important day for us to try to make further progress on a number of these issues.”
“What is important to note is that even when there have been differences between us, we have been able to work effectively on specific issues, and Russia made a significant contribution to the dialogue on the Iran nuclear agreement, and now in both of the Vienna discussions, Russia has been a significant contributor to the progress that we’ve been able to make,” Kerry gushed in Moscow. “More than a contributor, you personally have really been a co-convener and I thank you for the efforts you’ve made to lead us up now hopefully to getting to New York and building on the progress that’s been made.”
“On ISIL or Daesh, Russia and the United States agree that this is a threat to everybody, to every country, that there’s no negotiation. These are the worst of terrorists. They’ve attacked culture and history and all decency and they leave no choice but for civilized nations to stand together and to fight and push back and destroy them. And as President Obama said in New York, nothing would please us more than to resolve the differences of Ukraine and be able to move forward in the economic front and on other areas of important cooperation.”
Kerry was in Paris last night “meeting with many of our counterparts on the issue of Syria, and it was constructive.”
“We had good ideas about how we can coordinate, and so I look forward this morning to our meeting and to make real progress,” he said. “I think the world benefits when powerful nations with a long history …have the ability to be able to find common ground, and today I hope we can find some common ground.”
The Kremlin was boasting of Putin’s meeting today with Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko on “a broad range of bilateral cooperation and international issues.” The two rulers also held a joint press conference.