US Secretary of State John Kerry and Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel were to meet Friday with their Russian counterparts despite a recent chilling of relations between the countries over Russian asylum for leaker Edward Snowden, dpa reported.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defence Minister Sergei Kuzhugetovich Shoygu will come to Washington for the previously planned meetings, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Tuesday.
The meetings had been in doubt after Russia granted Snowden temporary asylum last week.
The so-called two plus two format - bringing together the top diplomatic and defence officials from the United States and Russia - was last held in 2007. A resumption of the meetings was first agreed in June.
"They will discuss a number of pressing bilateral and global issues, including strategic stability, political and military cooperation and regional issues," Psaki said.
Syria, which has been a continuing source of tension between Washington and Moscow over Russian support for President Bashar al-Assad, will be on the agenda, along with the New START treaty, cooperation in Afghanistan and Iran's nuclear programme, she said.
The US has frequently raised its concerns about Snowden's status and expected to do so again Friday, Psaki noted.
The asylum decision still threatens a planned meeting in Moscow between Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin, ahead of the Group of 20 meeting. The White House has said it was "evaluating the utility of a summit," and said it would announce soon whether the leaders would meet.
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