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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Lavrov and Serdyukov to Meet U.S. Counterparts

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov will meet their U.S. counterparts to discuss sensitive strategic issues before an expected presidential meeting on April 2, the Foreign Ministry said Friday.

New U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to meet President Dmitry Medvedev for the first time on the sidelines of a London summit of 20 leading nations called to discuss ways to fight the economic crisis and global financial reforms.

Medvedev has expressed hope that the Obama administration will help improve U.S.-Russian ties, which dived to post-Cold War lows over a series of major disagreements, including the expansion of Washington's missile-defense system into Poland and the Czech Republic.

"Of course, the foreign and defense ministers, Sergei Lavrov and Anatoly Serdyukov, and their American colleagues ... will discuss cooperation in this trusted format before the G20 summit in London," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said, Itar-Tass reported.

Ryabkov did not specify when or where talks in the so-called "2+2" format would take place. It will be the first meeting bringing together Lavrov and Serdyukov with new U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, appointed by Obama this month.

Robert Gates, who was defense secretary under former President George W. Bush and kept the post in Obama's administration, has already taken part in "2+2" talks.