Washington, May 15 (IANS): US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is scheduled to visit Denmark, Iceland and Greenland next week, a trip that includes a first in-person meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.
He will first stop in Copenhagen to meet Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod to discuss, among other things, the fight against the climate crisis, the US State Department said in a newly-announced itinerary on Friday.
Blinken will then attend the Arctic Council ministerial meeting in Iceland, where separate talks are set to take place with Lavrov, dpa news agency reported citing the itinerary as saying.
The focus of attention in the meeting will be whether an agreement will emerge on US President Joe Biden's proposed summit with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
Biden had suggested the two meet in a third country at a summit, but it is unclear whether Putin will accept the invitation.
US-Russia ties have nose-dived over Washington's allegations of election interference and cyberattacks, the treatment of jailed opposition figure Alexei Navalny and the conflict in eastern Ukraine. The two sides have imposed a wave of sanctions and counter-sanctions.
According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the face-to-face between Lavrov and Blinken was arranged to discuss "key issues of mutual relations and the international agenda".
At the council meeting in Reykjavik, the two-year chairmanship of the main Arctic cooperation forum will pass from Iceland to Russia.
While in Iceland, Blinken will also meet with Icelandic President Gudni Johannesson and Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir.
He will end the three-nation tour in Greenland, that largest island on Earth and which former US President Donald Trump wanted to buy from Denmark just over two years ago.
In Kangerlussuaq, Blinken will meet Greenland's new head of government, Mute B Egede, to discuss bilateral partnership.