Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry had a second telephone conversation, during which the American top diplomat said his country was taking steps to use its influence with the authorities in Kiev and prod them into starting a national dialogue in order to normalise the situation in the southeast of the country and make the constitutional reform truly representative, ITAR-TASS reported.
"The Russian minister and the U.S. secretary agreed that progress on these tracks would facilitate a meeting between Russia, the U.S., the European Union, and Ukrainian representatives in order to help settle the crisis in Ukraine," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
In a telephone conversation earlier in the day, Lavrov and Kerry spoke against the use of force in the southeast of Ukraine.
Lavrov told Kerry the quadripartite meeting on Ukraine should help foster equal dialogue in Ukraine.
The Russian minister and the U.S. secretary discussed "international assistance to the resolution of the acute political crisis in Ukraine, including a multilateral meeting between Russia, the U.S., the European Union and Ukrainian representatives," the Foreign Ministry said.
He said Russia would attend a quadripartite meeting on Ukraine with the United States, the European Union and the Ukrainian authorities only if it helped Kiev foster contacts with all political and regional forces inside the country.
The West has suggested holding a meeting on the situation in Ukraine. "April was named as a tentative date," he recalled and stressed that Russia's position was simple. "This is an internal Ukrainian crisis, and those who are holding the reins of power in Kiev now must invite all regions, all political forces to start a dialogue on the constitution, on the language and all other aspects."
Lavrov said Russia had so far received no reply to its inquiries, including those concerning rumours that Kiev is planning to sell ballistic missile technologies. "We asked the Americans what they think about this. They keep silent," the minister said.
Another inquiry that remains unanswered was about reports claiming that personnel of the private American security company Greystone had been deployed in Ukraine. "They say: we see no reason for this to be true. What a strange answer. Why don't you simply say: there is none of them there?" Lavrov said, adding that there were also other inquiries that had not been answered by the U.S. authorities.
"If this meeting focuses on urging the Ukrainian authorities not to wait for the south-eastern regions to boil over, as is the case now, and on urging them to talk with these regions, we will join this call," he said.
Lavrov recalled that the new Ukrainian authorities had not visited the southern and south-eastern regions of the country even once since February 22 when they took power in Kiev. "They say: there is the Party of Regions and there are communists in the Verkhovna Rada [parliament] and that's enough. But it's not so because many regions think that those who sit in the Verkhovna Rada do not represent their interests," he said.
The minister said he did not know where the quadripartite meeting could take place. "We want to understand the purpose of convening this meeting," he said.
If the organisers intend to urge the Kiev authorities to take care of the country, Russia will support it wholeheartedly. "But if they: 'take your seats at the table and give them cheap gas', this is probably senseless," he said.
In discussing ways to resolve the Ukrainian crisis some time ago, Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry did not rule out a quadripartite meeting between Ukrainian, Russian, EU and U.S. officials.