- Merkel and Hollande to attend peace talks in Belarus to resolve Ukraine’s civil war today
- U.S. and U.K. not invited
- Germany and U.S. present united front but tensions ripple under the surface
- Foreign Minister of Greece, Nikolaos Kotzias, to meet his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov today as the crucial Eurogroup of finance ministers meet to determine the fate of Greece and the Euro
- Russia negotiates free-trade agreement with Egypt.
- Cyprus permits Russia to use ports and airstrips for humanitarian and emergency purposes
The meeting, which the Russia Today news agency describe as a Franco-German peace initiative, will not include the leaders of the US or Britain.
RT suggests that the talks were triggered by John Kerry’s visit to Kiev where he announced the possibility of the US arming Ukraine government troops adding that “Europe is reluctant to have a full-blown war on its doorstep.”
Preliminary talks between Merkel, Hollande and Putin in Moscow on Friday were held behind closed doors. On Monday Merkel met with Obama in Washington. While they tried to present a united front the subtext of their statements and their body language gave a different impression.
U.S. politicians have been clamouring for Obama to provide weapons to the Ukrainian government. But Merkel was unequivocal in her response to such proposals. “I don’t see a military solution” she said adding that sending arms to the Ukraine government would be “not just highly risky but counterproductive.”
Obama insisted that the arms option was under “ongoing analysis” while at the same time agreeing with Merkel that, for now, the civil war would not be resolved by military means. He insisted that Russia’s isolation would worsen if it failed to change course.