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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 intense 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.

Taping an appearance on NBC television's Tonight Show, Mr. Obama said Tuesday there are times when Russia slips back into Cold War thinking. He said he continues to remind Mr. Putin that is in the past.

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 of telephone calls and Internet traffic.

The president called government surveillance a "critical component to counterterrorism."



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

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