World News

    Key US, Russian Officials in 'Candid' Talks in Washington



    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry opened his meeting in Washington Friday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the U.S. and Russian defense chiefs by saying the talks are important above and beyond the two nations' "moments of disagreement."

    Speaking at the State Department, Kerry said the U.S.-Russia relationship is marked by both shared interests and at times, "colliding and conflicting interests," and not just over the case of U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden.



    "Now I think we're all very clear-eyed about that. Sergei Lavrov and I are old hockey players, and we both know that diplomacy, like hockey, can sometimes result in the occasional collision."



    Kerry said U.S. and Russian officials are "candid" about the areas in which they disagree, but stressed that it is important for the two nations to find ways to make progress on missile defense and other strategic issues, including Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea and Syria.

    Lavrov said the Syrian conflict is both nations' "top priority" in terms of crisis settlement, with both sides supporting efforts to organize an international peace conference and a negotiated political solution to that war.

    The discussions come at a low point in relations between the U.S. and Russia, two days after President Barack Obama called off next month's planned summit in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The U.S. was particularly angered by Russia's decision to grant asylum to Snowden and its refusal to hand over the former U.S. intelligence contractor so he could face espionage charges in the United States.



    The U.S. and Russia also back opposing sides in Syria's civil war, with the U.S. supporting Syrian rebels and Russia arming President Bashar al-Assad's forces.

    U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the U.S. and Russia have a responsibility to each other and to the world to find solutions to these great challenges. He said he had a "very positive" meeting with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu Friday morning, addressing military-to-military cooperation and other issues.

    White House spokesman Jay Carney said Thursday that the U.S. wants to discuss key issues with Russia, but that there is not enough agreement at the moment to warrant an Obama-Putin meeting.



    "We did not see, on a range of fronts, the kind of sufficient progress on some of the major issues that we are engaging with the Russians on, to merit a summit. Mr. Snowden was a factor, but not the only factor. And when you have summits like these you want the kind of progress prior to them to be sufficient enough to merit a meeting of the leaders."



    Snowden, a former intelligence contractor, admitted leaking details of secret National Security Agency surveillance programs that gather information on telephone calls and Internet use. Snowden says U.S. citizens have the right to know their government is spying on them. The NSA says the programs stopped several terrorist plots.

    Snowden fled to Hong Kong, then to Russia, to avoid prosecution.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora