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Four-way Ukraine talks in Geneva on April 17: US

Secretary of State John Kerry greets Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liebermann, Wednesday, April 9, 2014, at the State Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

WASHINGTON: Four-way talks on the crisis in Ukraine between the United States, EU, Russia and Ukrainian government will be held in Geneva on April 17, a US official confirmed Friday.

US Secretary of State John Kerry will attend to "continue efforts to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine and find a diplomatic path forward," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

"The United States is committed to mobilizing the international community in support of Ukraine, and helping the Ukrainian people build the stable, democratic and prosperous country," she added in a statement.

The talks were first mooted at the beginning of the week, but US officials admitted it had been challenging to coordinate the schedules of four ministers.

Kerry is likely to join Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, as well as the European Union's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

On the Ukrainian side, it is believed that Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsya will attend, but there has been no confirmation of that.

Kerry spoke again by phone Friday with Lavrov and also with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Psaki said.

The United States said earlier this week that it had only low expectations for the meeting which will be the latest step in a flurry of diplomacy aimed at de-escalating the worst European security crisis in decades.

"I have to say that we don't have high expectations for these talks, but we do believe it is very important to keep that diplomatic door open and will see what they bring," Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland told lawmakers.

 

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