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U.S., Russia set for first talks since Syria deal

October 6th, 2013 1:46 pm by MATTHEW LEE, AP Diplomatic Writer

U.S., Russia set for first talks since Syria deal

U.S. State Secretary John Kerry speaks to the media during a visit to a tuna packaging factory in Bali, Indonesia, on Sunday. (AP Photo)

BALI, Indonesia — The United States and Russia are set to hold their first high-level talks since sealing a deal to secure and destroy Syria's chemical weapons and the onset of an apparent warming between Iran and the West.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov planned to meet Monday to discuss both issues on the sidelines of an economic summit in Indonesia. They will be comparing notes on progress made since they negotiated the Syria agreement last month.

International disarmament inspectors began work Sunday to destroy Syria's estimated 1,000-ton stockpile of chemical weapons. They're working against a Nov. 1 deadline set by the United Nations last month to destroy the Assad government's capability to produce the weapons.

Kerry and Lavrov will also be talking about Iran and its nuclear program. Officials from the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council — the United States , China, the Russian Federation, France and the United Kingdom — and Germany will meet with representatives from Iran in Geneva on Oct. 15 in renewed talks on Iran's nuclear program.

Tehran insists its nuclear program is peaceful and that it is enriching uranium to levels needed for medical isotopes and reactor fuel.

Western powers, including the United States, fear Iran is trying to build a nuclear bomb and have imposed crippling economic sanctions to encourage Iran to curb its enrichment program.


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