On March 30, Secretary of State John Kerry met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Paris, France. Following their meeting, Secretary Kerry participated in a press availability, where he said:
"...President Obama and the United States believe firmly that diplomacy has a critical role to play in helping the people of Ukraine to achieve their goal of living in dignity and in a stable, peaceful, and unified democracy. And we are here because of our firm conviction that diplomatic solutions ought to be the first resort in solving international problems.
"The U.S. and Russia have differences of opinion about the events that led to this crisis, but both of us recognize the importance of finding a diplomatic solution and of simultaneously meeting the needs of the Ukrainian people -- and that we agreed on tonight.
"Both sides made suggestions on ways to deescalate the security and political situation in and around Ukraine. We also agreed to work with the Ukrainian Government and the people to implement the steps that they are taking to assure the following priorities: the rights of national minorities; language rights; demobilization and disarmament of irregular forces and provocateurs; an inclusive constitutional reform process, and free and fair elections monitored by the international community.
"We agreed to consider the ideas and the suggestions that we developed tonight and to continue our discussions soon.
"The United States is consulting with Ukraine at every step of this process, and we will not accept a path forward where the legitimate Government of Ukraine is not at the table. This principle is clear: No decisions about Ukraine without Ukraine."
On March 24-28, Secretary Kerry accompanied President Obama during his visit to The Hague, Rome, Vatican City, and Riyadh. While in The Hague, Secretary Kerry attended meetings with President Obama, including a G7 leaders meeting to discuss the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. You can learn more about the Secretary's travel here, and read the full transcript of his press availability in Paris here.
For more information: