Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (L) listens to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry during a news conference at the United Nations Headquarters in Manhattan, New York, December 18, 2015. REUTERS/EDUARDO MUNOZ
The Cable/Foreign Policy: John Kerry Consults with Russians on Syria Less Than 48 Hours After Suspending Ties
Secretary of State John Kerry discussed the situation in Syria with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday, less than 48 hours after the State Department announced a suspension in “bilateral channels with Russia” related to reducing the violence in Syria.
The Wednesday phone call between the two diplomats, first disclosed by the Russian Foreign Ministry, raised immediate questions about whether the United States was already backtracking on its threat to cut off ties with Moscow.
In acknowledging the phone call, State Department spokesman Mark Toner defended the high-level contact. “They did talk about the situation on the ground in Syria,” he said, “my argument back to you would be it would be irresponsible for Secretary Kerry not to raise what’s happening in Syria and make our concerns clear about what’s happening there.”
Toner faced stiff push back from reporters seeking to understand the practical extent of the suspension of ties. “You tell the Russians one thing, and then you turn around and don’t follow through on it,” Associated Press reporter Matt Lee said.
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WNU Editor: I am glad that they are talking at this level .... but it does diminish the US State Department to say that they have cut ties .... and a few days later they are listing the exceptions to this "cut-off".