US, Russian diplomats to hold talks in Helsinki

Washington D. C. [U.S.A], September 10 : U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Thomas Shannon will hold talks with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov in Helsinki, Finland on Sunday in a bid to calm down diplomatic tensions and to address areas of bilateral concerns.

"Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas A. Shannon, Jr. will travel to Helsinki, Finland September 10-12 where he will meet with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov to address areas of bilateral concern and cooperation,"TASS Russian news agency quoted the U.S.

Department of State statement. This development comes at a time when diplomatic tensions are high as Moscow issued an order asking Washington to reduce the U.S.

diplomatic presence in Russia by several hundred people and then Trump administration responded by ordering Russia to close its consulate in San Francisco and two annexes in Washington and New York.

Shannon "will also lead the U.S. inter-agency delegation to the U.S-Russia Strategic Stability Talks," it stated. "Under Secretary Shannon will also meet senior Finnish officials, including President Sauli Niinist-, to discuss a range of bilateral and global issues, following the Finnish President's visit to the White House on August 28," the statement added.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's visit to Moscow in April 2017 has led to the setting up of a channel of communication between Ryabkov and Shannon.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov later said that these contacts marked "a useful and business-like approach.".

Source: ANI