President Joe Biden agreed “in principle” that a summit with President Vladimir Putin made sense, but, the White House said, could only happen if Russia did not invade Ukraine. A statement in this regard came several hours after a series of phone conversations that French President Emmanuel Macron had with Biden and Putin. The Elysee Palace said that the two leaders agreed to organize the summit.
The statement said Macron sent the two presidents a draft summit on “security and strategic stability in Europe”. “Presidents Biden and Putin accepted such a summit in principle,” the Elysee Palace wrote, adding that such a meeting would be impossible if Russia, whose forces are concentrating on the border, invaded Ukraine again.
Summit assumptions will be prepared by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. The ministerial meeting will be held on Thursday, February 24.
The White House confirms: “in principle” the summit can be held, but there is a condition
Several dozen minutes later, the White House confirmed the information from the Elysee Palace. “As the president has made clear many times, we are committed to diplomacy until the invasion begins. Foreign Minister Blinken and Foreign Minister Lavrov are scheduled to meet in Europe this week unless Russia decides to take military action. President Biden agreed in principle to a proposal to To meet with President Putin after these talks,” stressing at the same time that the condition of the meeting is to refrain from attacking Ukraine.
The spokeswoman added that while the United States is “always ready for diplomacy,” it is “also ready to impose swift and severe sanctions if Russia chooses war, and it now appears that Russia continues to prepare for a large-scale attack on Ukraine in a very short time.”
Reuters news agency said it was not possible to obtain a comment from the Kremlin on the matter on Monday morning.
Macron talks on Sunday
The statement of the Elysee Palace and the White House was preceded by telephone conversations between President Emmanuel Macron, Volodymyr Zelensky, Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden.
The French president spoke for about two hours that afternoon with his Russian counterpart as part of a series of discussions between heads of state in an effort to avert an armed conflict in eastern Ukraine.
The second conversation lasted about an hour and was preceded – like the first – by a conversation between the President of France and the President of the United States, Joe Biden.
As reported by Reuters, During the first conversation, Macron and Putin agreed to do everything they could to maintain peace. And Reuters news agency said after a statement issued by the Kremlin that they agreed on the need to intensify the search for diplomatic solutions to escalate the crisis in eastern Ukraine.
Main image source: Peter Claunzer / PAB / IPA
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