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Remarks With Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov Before Their Meeting

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Paris, France
June 5, 2014

SECRETARY KERRY: Let me just say that it's a pleasure for me to be able to welcome Foreign Minister Lavrov so that we have an opportunity to be able to discuss issues of obvious importance to the relationship between the United States and Russia, but obviously even more so important to everybody who wants to see peace and stability in Ukraine and progress on other issues of concern that we share together.

President-elect Poroshenko has made it clear that he wants to reach out to all of the people of Ukraine, and he intends to make a major effort to bring the country together. This is an opportunity we hope for Russia, the United States, and others – all of them to come together in an effort to try to make a Ukraine that is strong economically, whose sovereignty is respected, whose independence is respected, but which clearly is not the pawn in a tug-of-war between other nations, but rather an independent, sovereign country with the integrity of its borders and people, able to act as a bridge between east and west with trade, with engagement between all parties.

That's our hope, and we hope that with Russia, together we have an ability to be able to find a way to cooperate in order to help make this happen. That's our hope. And there obviously are difficulties. We understand that. That's why we're meeting to talk about them before the celebrations in Normandy.

FOREIGN MINISTER LAVROV: Yeah. I can only subscribe to what Secretary Kerry just said. We would like to see Ukraine peaceful, stable, a place for all those who live in Ukraine – for them to be feeling equal, respected, heard, and listened to, living in peace, being a bridge, not being a pawn. And the Russian-American agenda is much broader than just Ukraine. We would like to see other countries like Iraq, Libya, Syria, many others, also to be in peace, not to be used as a pawn, and I hope that we can discuss all these things with the Secretary here.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you all very much.

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