Washington, May 13 : US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov during the Arctic Council Ministerial ated to take place in Iceland on May 20.
During a phone call on Wednesday, the top US and Russian diplomats discussed the upcoming Arctic Council Ministerial meeting, where they will meet next week, and the potential to cooperate during Russia's subsequent Arctic Council Chairmanship, said a State Department statement.
"Secretary Blinken reiterated President (Joe) Biden's resolve to protect US citizens and act firmly in defence of US interests in response to actions by Russia that harm us or our allies," Xinhua news agency quoted the Department statement as saying.
Blinken called on Moscow to release two former US Marines Paul Whelan and Trevor Reed, who are serving prison sentences in Russia.
He also provided Lavrov with an overview of the American policy towards North Korea, according to the statement.
The upcoming meeting between Blinken and Lavrov in Iceland would be the highest-level in-person talks between Washington and Moscow since President Joe Biden took office.
Biden said last week that he expected to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the trip to Europe in June, when he will attend the G7 Summit in Britain and then the NATO Summit in Belgium.
Lavrov said on Tuesday that Russia welcomes the initiative by the US for holding a summit in June.
Relations between Washington and Moscow have been adversarial in recent years.
The countries are bitterly divided over Ukraine, human rights, cybersecurity issues, and they mutually accused the other of domestic political interference.