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Kerry arrives in Basel for OSCE talks on Ukraine

04 december 2014, 12:05
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US Secretary of State John Kerry (L)meets with Swiss president and OSCE Chairperson-in-office Didier Burkhalter. ©AFP
US Secretary of State John Kerry (L)meets with Swiss president and OSCE Chairperson-in-office Didier Burkhalter. ©AFP

 US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Basel Wednesday evening for a meeting of top diplomats from some 50 OSCE countries which will focus on the spiralling Ukraine crisis, AFP reports.

Kerry is set to meet Thursday with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov as a long-awaited truce around an airport in rebel-held Donetsk in eastern Ukraine appeared under threat, just hours after it was agreed.

The US and Russian top diplomats, who most recently spoke in late November during talks in Vienna on Iran's nuclear programme, are set to "discuss a range of topics of mutual interest including issues related to the Middle East", according to a US official.

The 57-member Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe is in charge of monitoring a shaky overall ceasefire between the Ukrainian army and separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine reached in September.

Kerry's flight defied heavy fog over the northern Swiss city and landed shortly before 1800 GMT, and he was whisked to the conference centre where the OSCE will kick off the two-day ministerial meeting on Thursday.

Kerry, who flew in from Brussels, where he took part in a meeting of the US-led coalition against the jihadist Islamic State group, was set to meet Swiss President and acting OSCE chairman Didier Burkhalter Wednesday evening, as organisers were still rolling out the red carpets.

He then flies to London for a conference on Afghanistan.


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