Obama to meet with European Council president Tusk

27th February 2015, Comments 0 comments

US President Barack Obama will meet next month with the president of the European Council for talks on Russia and the crisis in Ukraine, among other issues, the White House said Friday.

Donald Tusk, the council president and former Polish prime minister, will visit with Obama at the White House on March 9, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a statement.

They will discuss "a range of issues, including the situation in Ukraine, Russia, economic growth, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP), energy security, climate, and countering violent extremism and terrorism," he said.

Tusk on Friday was consulting with European leaders on the EU's next steps in response to ceasefire violations in Ukraine since a February 12 agreement in Minsk to stop the fighting.

Washington accuses Moscow of arming and supplying the rebels, with Secretary of State John Kerry angrily charging on Wednesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin was destabilizing Ukraine through "land grabs."

Kerry, who also has accused Russian officials of lying "to my face," is supposed to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov early next week in Geneva.

Washington acknowledged on Thursday that the situation on the ground in Ukraine has improved slightly, but insisted the ceasefire was still being violated despite a lull in the fighting.

Ukraine's military on Thursday said it had started pulling back heavy weapons, in keeping with the ceasefire plan to create a buffer zone between the two forces.

In his statement on the Tusk visit, Earnest laid emphasis on "the importance of US-EU cooperation and the centrality of the Transatlantic relationship to international stability and prosperity."

© 2015 AFP

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