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Russia says Kerry not expected at Moscow talks with leaders of Germany, France

Moscow was ready for a visit by US Secretary of State John Kerry but he would not come, Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov said on Thursday.

"The US side has more than once raised the issue of visiting Russia and Moscow has supported these plans. But the visit has not taken place yet on certain grounds," Ushakov said when asked about Kerry's possible participation in Friday's talks in Moscow involving the leaders of Russia, Germany and France, Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande.

"No, he [Kerry] won't go with them. Tomorrow we expect Merkel and Hollande," Ushakov said. "As for Kerry, as far as I know, he has several times expressed his willingness to visit Moscow and our side has certainly given a positive response to that," he said, noting that the visit had never taken place.

The leaders of Germany and France launched a new diplomatic initiative over Ukraine on Thursday and flew together with Kerry to Kiev with a proposal to resolve the conflict that could be "acceptable to all". Merkel and Hollande will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow the following day.

[Source: Itar Tass, Moscow, 05Feb15]

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