Friday, March 14, 2014

Kerry, Lavrov meet in London over Ukraine

US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are meeting in London in an effort to narrow their differences over the crisis in Ukraine.

The top diplomats met in the British capital on Friday morning. The talks are being held amid rising tensions over a planned secession referendum on Sunday, in Ukraine's southern region of Crimea. The autonomous region is now effectively under Russia's control, with its troops stationed there.

The United States and the EU oppose the referendum. They say it violates international laws and the Constitution of Ukraine.

Russia insists that the rights of residents in Crimea must be respected.

Kerry and Lavrov have already met twice this month and had a series of telephone conversations.

The US urged the Russian government to hold a dialogue with Ukraine's interim government.

However, Russia rejected the request and said that the interim government has no legitimacy.

Attention is now focused on whether Kerry and Lavrov can find common ground as the Crimean vote on secession from Ukraine nears.