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August 06, 2013

Kerry, Hagel to Meet with Russian Counterparts in Washington

The U.S. State Department says Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will meet with their Russian counterparts Friday in Washington.

A State Department spokeswoman says the talks with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu will include discussions on Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, and the new START arms treaty.

Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov tells the New York Times that the Kremlin expects a very intensive discussion. He says there are quite a few "sharp, controversial, and difficult questions" facing both countries.

Washington has said it is reassessing next month's planned Moscow summit between Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin.

The United States is upset that Russia granted temporary asylum to former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, who is wanted for leaking information about secret U.S. surveillance programs.

Russia and the United States also differ on Syria, with Moscow arming the Assad regime and the United States supporting the rebels.