Kerry, Lavrov meeting ends in stalemate

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Thursday said talks with Secretary of State John Kerry ended without an agreement regarding the crisis in Ukraine.

"For now, we cannot tell the international community that we have an agreement," Interfax news agency quoted Lavrov as saying after meeting with Kerry in Rome, according to Reuters.

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Lavrov also said the Obama administration's decision to impose sanctions against Russia was “unconstructive.”

The White House announced on Thursday it would freeze assets and ban visas to Russians who have been involved with the invasion into Crimea.

The sanctions against Russia were outlined in an executive order President Obama signed Thursday that would prevent U.S. companies from doing business with individuals or entities. The order doesn’t specify particular individuals.

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Talk of blacklisting Russians from entering the United States, Lavrov said, is complicating negotiations.

"[Kerry] assured me there are no such lists for now. There is only the order, but that doesn't change facts, this is still a threat,” he said.

Kerry and Lavrov spoke for 40 minutes on the sidelines of the International Conference on Libya, a senior State Department official said.

“They continued their discussions on the situation in Ukraine. The secretary made clear the importance of the Russians talking directly to the Ukrainians, and the two discussed possible formats for how that dialogue might take place,” the official said. “Secretary Kerry also pressed the importance of allowing international monitors into Crimea and Eastern Ukraine to see first-hand the situation on the ground.”

Their meeting was the second one in two days. Lavrov reportedly said he would relay the U.S. proposal for international mediation to Russian President Vladimir Putin, before they take any next steps.

Crimea’s regional parliament, meanwhile, voted to become part of Russia, a move that will held in a referendum vote on March 16.

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