US State Dept says no plans for Shannon-Ryabkov meeting in Helsinki


WASHINGTON, September 9. /TASS/. The US State Department has not confirmed as of yet that a meeting of Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and U.S. Under Secretary for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon had been scheduled for next week in Helsinki, a spokesperson for the US State Department told TASS on Saturday.

"We have no travel to announce at this time," the official said.

Earlier on Saturday, a source at the Russian Foreign Ministry told TASS that Ryabkov was planning to hold a meeting with Shannon in Finland's capital on September 11-12. Also, AP news agency said about a possible meeting of the diplomats, referring to U.S. officials.

Setting up a communications channel between Ryabkov and Shannon was one of the results of U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visit to Moscow in April 2017. In particular, Moscow and Washington agreed that the diplomats should assess the current problems in bilateral relations. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov later said that these contacts marked "a useful and business-like approach."

The previous round of negotiations between the Russian deputy foreign minister and the U.S. undersecretary of state took place in Washington on July 17.

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