On the sidelines of his upcoming visit to New York on April 24-25, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is ready to meet US Secretary of State Antony Blinken if there is willingness from Washington, says Moscow’s Permanent Representative to the UN Vasily Nebenzya.
Addressing a press conference here on Monday on Russia’s assumption of the rotating presidency of the Security Council for the month of April, Nebenzya said: “I think that depends on two factors. First, where Secretary Blinken will be at that time, and on his ability and willingness to meet with our Foreign Minister,” TASS News Agency reported.
The Russian side has never “run away from whatever meetings with those people who want these meetings”, the envoy claimed.
“If such a meeting is requested, I presume that Minister Lavrov will be ready to meet Secretary Blinken,” he added.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will meet Lavrov “when he is in town”, Stephane Dujarric, the UN chief’s spokesman, told reporters on Monday.
“I have no doubt that when Lavrov is here, he and the Secretary-General will have a sit-down,” Xinhua news agency quoted Dujarric as saying.
“The sit-down would be about going through the long list of issues and agenda items between the Russian Federation and the UN Secretariat,” he added.
The development comes two days after Blinken spoke on the phone with Lavrov and conveyed the US’ grave concern over Russia’s “unacceptable detention” of American journalist Evan Gershkovich over espionage charges.
A State Department statement said that during the call on Sunday, Blinken called for The Wall Street Journal reporter’s “immediate release and also urged “the Kremlin to immediately release wrongfully detained US citizen Paul Whelan”.
The two top officials met last month for the first time since Russia waged its ongoing war against Ukraine in February last year.
The brief meeting took place on the sidelines of the G20 summit in New Delhi.
Before this, Blinken and Lavrov met in Geneva in January 2022.