(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) Secretary of State John Kerry called Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Saturday to discuss the efforts to remove chemical weapons from Syria, the State Department announced.
While noting that the efforts have resulted in the removal of 92 percent of Syria's declared chemical weapons stockpile, Kerry stressed the need to complete the removal process, said the statement from a senior department official who provided the information on background.
Kerry also expressed "strong concern" about reports of a recent attack in Syria using a toxic chemical, likely chlorine, and told Lavrov that the US plans to continue consultations with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the UN about the reports in an effort to determine the facts, the official said.
On Ukraine, Kerry urged Russian support without precnditions for the efforts of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the government of Ukraine to liberate the Vienna Document inspectors and their Ukrainian guides who are being held hostage by pro-Russian separatists in Slovyansk, the official said.
"The Secretary again underscored Ukrainian efforts to pass an amnesty bill in the Rada, the parliament, to promote broad and deep constitutional reform across the country, and to contain the very dangerous and violent separatists in Slovyansk," the official said. Kerry called on Russia to publicly support Ukraine's efforts rather than denigrate them, the official added.
Kerry also expressed continued concern that Russia's provocative troop movements on Ukraine's border, its support for separatists and its inflammatory rhetoric are undermining stability, security and unity in Ukraine, the official said.