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Blinken, Lavrov to meet next week

Blinken, Lavrov to meet next week
© AFP/Pool

Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenKim says North Korea needs to be 'prepared' for 'confrontation' with US The Senate just passed the next Apollo program Young Turks founder on Democratic establishment: 'They lie nonstop' MORE and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov agreed to meet next week, marking the first time the two top diplomats will sit down since President BidenJoe BidenObama: Ensuring democracy 'continues to work effectively' keeps me 'up at night' New Jersey landlords prohibited from asking potential tenants about criminal records Overnight Defense: Pentagon pulling some air defense assets from Middle East | Dems introduce resolution apologizing to LGBT community for discrimination | White House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine MORE’s inauguration.

The State Department said in a readout of a call between Blinken and Lavrov that the two will meet in Reykjavik, Iceland, on the sidelines of the Arctic Council. The readout said the two discussed an array of issues, including the detention of two Americans in Russia and U.S. policy toward North Korea, also known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). 

“Secretary Blinken reiterated President Biden’s resolve to protect U.S. citizens and act firmly in defense of U.S. interests in response to actions by Russia that harm us or our allies. He called on Russia to release Paul Whelan and Trevor Reed so they can return home to their families. The Secretary provided the Minister an overview of U.S. policy toward the DPRK, and the two committed to continued discussion on issues of mutual concern,” the State Department said.

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The meeting between the top two diplomats comes as Washington and Moscow try to arrange a meeting between Biden and Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinOvernight Defense: Pentagon pulling some air defense assets from Middle East | Dems introduce resolution apologizing to LGBT community for discrimination | White House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine White House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine It's well past time for strategic defenses and counterpunches on cybersecurity MORE.

The White House has indicated there's a possibility of a Biden-Putin meeting next month while the U.S. president is in Europe for a Group of Seven summit.

The discussion between Blinken and Lavrov could touch on several high-profile topics, including Russia’s expanded military presence along its border with Ukraine and the Kremlin’s treatment of opposition leader Alexey Navalny. Blinken could also raise Moscow's interference in recent U.S. elections.