SHANNON, Ireland (AFP) - US Secretary of State John Kerry made a last-minute change of plans on Saturday to fly to Paris with the aim of setting up talks with his Russian counterpart on the Ukraine crisis.
After leaving Riyadh early Saturday, the top US diplomat had been due to fly home to Washington via a refuelling stop in Ireland, but decided mid-flight to go to Paris instead.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday called his US counterpart Barack Obama to say he was interested in discussing a US proposal on the table to resolve the standoff over Ukraine.
Obama instructed Kerry to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as soon as possible, and State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said it was hoped to set up a meeting somewhere in Europe by early next week.
There was also a possibility that the top US diplomat who has been pushing his faltering peace talks could return to the Middle East region over the weekend, she added.