MOSCOW — Russia’s foreign minister has scheduled a trilateral meeting in Qatar with his US and Saudi counterparts.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said Saturday that Sergey Lavrov will confer with US Secretary of State John Kerry and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir during his two-day trip to Doha starting Sunday. Kerry earlier has said he plans to meet separately in Doha with Lavrov to discuss Syria, Iran and the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said that during his visit to Qatar, Lavrov will discuss the crises in Syria, Libya and Yemen, international efforts to combat the Islamic State group and Iran’s role in regional affairs after last month’s signing of Iran’s nuclear deal.
Despite Russia-US tensions over Ukraine, President Barack Obama has thanked Moscow for helping reach the agreement.
Kerry departed for the Middle East on Friday for security talks in Egypt and discussions in Qatar with Arab foreign ministers whose countries are wary of the nuclear deal struck with Iran. He will not visit Israel, America’s foremost ally in the region, and the primary foreign opponent of the Iran agreement.
US officials rejected suggestions that Kerry’s omission of Israel from the itinerary signaled that the Obama administration had given up trying to convince Israeli leaders of the merits of the Iran deal.
They noted that Defense Secretary Ash Carter had visited the Jewish state in mid-July and that contacts with Israeli officials continue to be robust.
The last time Kerry spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was on July 16, two days after the Iran deal was concluded.
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