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U.S. Diplomats Discuss Ukraine, Syria In Moscow

Two top American diplomats were in Moscow on May 18 for top-level talks for the first time in months on two crises bedeviling global affairs -- Ukraine and Syria.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Europe Victoria Nuland met with senior Russian officials to discuss ways of "deepening our engagement" in implementing a shaky Ukraine cease-fire, a senior department official said.

She told reporters in Moscow that they discussed "concrete steps" and "particularly dug in on how the United States might be able to support the process" of implementing the cease-fire.

Meanwhile, special U.S. envoy for Syria Daniel Rubinstein met with Russian Foreign Ministry counterparts on "how to create the conditions for a genuine, sustainable political transition in Syria," the department said.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said they had a "sincere and detailed discussion" about Syria.

Rubinstein emphasized the "urgent need" to defeat extremist groups through both military steps and a political solution, and emphasized how Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's continued presence exacerbates "sectarianism and extremism" in Syria and the region.

Based on reporting by dpa and AFP

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