January 31, 2023

Wire Service Canada

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Ukraine, Biden: I talk to Putin if he shows he wants to end the war – Europe

An opening towards potential peace negotiations on Ukraine and the possibility of “talking to Putin”, some hypothetical corrections to US subsidies for renewables and a compromise on China. In their meeting at the White House, the first state visit during the Biden era, Emmanuel Macron and the US President showed an image of undisputed friendship, between pats on the back and friendliness that the first two ladies also embraced, but they frankly discussed their differences, as befits old friends. “The United States could not ask for a better partner to work with,” Joe Biden began, praising French principles of “liberty, fraternity, and fraternity” as he and First Lady Jill welcomed the Macrons to the South Lawn. Amid fanfare amidst 21 artillery rounds and the national anthem and fanfare. Macron replied: “Our common destiny is to respond together to global challenges.” Biden echoed “Our two nations are brothers in their struggle for freedom,” stressing that the conflict in Ukraine requires the United States and France to “return to comrades in arms.” After pleasantries, the two leaders locked themselves in the Oval Office for more than three hours to discuss all the thorny files, and came to an agreement on those in which there were more tensions. The result was a very long joint statement that outlined common positions, starting with Russia, with a commitment to guarantee aid to Kyiv “as long as necessary” without forcing peace and prosecuting Moscow for war crimes. But the French leader, perhaps also in view of an international conference in Paris on December 13 to collect aid for Kiev (Rpt: to collect aid for Kiev), continues to keep the door open for Putin, with whom he announced his intention to do so. In the coming days, convinced that “negotiations are still possible.” And Biden himself repeated at the press conference that he was “ready to talk to Putin if he shows signs of his desire to end the war,” while he stressed that he “has not yet done so.” The two leaders also found common ground on the US Anti-Inflation Act which, according to Macron, with its “extremely strong” support for renewables, “threatens to split the West”. Concerns shared by the Europeans were also expressed by the French leader to the American parliamentarians. It was decided to discuss “practical measures to synchronize approaches” on the supply chain and the green economy, from semiconductors to hydrogen and batteries for electric vehicles. The two presidents pledged to implement a “mutually beneficial” environmental transition, and to strengthen the partnership between the United States and the European Union on energy and climate. Biden said he did not want to apologize for the anti-inflation law, but made clear that it was not his “intent to harm Europe or get the United States back on track at Europe’s expense” and that “adjustments can be made to get more European countries involved”. An outstretched hand, then. He was immediately picked up by Macron, who, for his part, urged Europe to “move faster and stronger” to have “the same industrial ambition” as the United States. “We want to succeed together, not against each other,” he added. Among the hypotheses, according to the media, are also some exemptions for European companies. The commitment to Beijing is more general, with “continued coordination on concerns about China’s challenges to the international order, including human rights,” but also cooperation on global issues such as climate change. In this file, France did not want a hard line, and it participates in the more open European Union. Instead, Biden and Macron put up a wall against Iran, promising to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons and to show “respect” for the protests of the Iranian people, especially the “courageous” protests of youth and women. After a private dinner for four at an Italian seafood restaurant in Georgetown and an exchange of gifts between couples, the visit concluded with a sumptuous formal dinner with a menu made in the USA, from Oregon cheeses to California wines. But in French-made glasses, always under the banner of compromise.

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There is an important figure in the US administration with whom Russia would like to negotiate a solution to the Ukrainian conflict: John Kerry, a politician who has already shown that he is capable of “respectful dialogue”. This was stated by the Foreign Minister of Moscow, Sergey Lavrov, who was in long association with Kerry at the time when he was Minister of Foreign Affairs, and opposed Russia and the United States in another war, the one that was in Syria. Today, however, the United States and NATO are fighting directly in Ukraine against Russia, Lavrov complains, and he also questions Italy, which is back to the sender, denying any involvement. The head of Russian diplomacy said at a two-and-a-half-hour news conference, which was largely devoted to denouncing what happened and calling NATO’s aspiration for “global domination.” Not only that, the training is carried out by “hundreds of Western instructors” directly on the ground in Ukraine, where they also send a large number of mercenaries and intelligence agents to inform the Ukrainian “Nazi battalions” of the striking targets. Words denied by the Ministry of Defense from Rome, explaining that it “did not carry out any training in Italy” for the Ukrainian army. “The defense has so far – he confirms in a note – has sent only 4 members of the armed forces to Germany as part of the European Training Group, who, at this moment, are planning possible training courses in the future.” Even the NATO Secretary General rejects Moscow’s accusations that “NATO is not a party to the conflict, and we don’t allow Putin to be drawn into the conflict,” Stoltenberg asserted, asserting instead that the alliance’s “mission” is to support “Ukraine and avoid escalation that goes beyond Ukraine” because if Russia wins “This will encourage other authoritarian regimes to use the same means.” On the ground, the offensive — all things still limited — by Russian forces and their allies in Donetsk and Luhansk, supported by militiamen from Wagner and Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov, in the eastern Donbass region is still Makes headlines.The Russian Defense Ministry said another village, Kurdyumovka, was captured in the last few hours in the Donetsk region, after the Ukrainians lost Andreyevka, Belogorovka and Berchi Travnya the day before.The goal, according to Kiev and Westerners, is to capture Bakhmut, a city It has a population of over 70,000, which, according to various military analysts, would have no strategic value equal to the huge losses that the Russians could incur to invade it.So it could be more than a symbolic plunder, To celebrate Moscow’s deliverance after the retreat it was forced into between September and October in the nearby Kharkiv region and then also in Donetsk with the loss of Liman. Meanwhile, there is a new prisoner exchange, with 50 released on each side. But for now, negotiations seem to be limited to that. European Council President Charles Michel said, during a visit to Beijing, that he had asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to “use his influence to end Russia’s war on Ukraine.” From Washington, Emmanuel Macron said he was confident that the negotiating table with Putin “is still possible.” But Lavrov complains that despite the French president’s public statements of his desire to speak to the Russian president, he has not yet appeared. Then there were some “statements” from Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani, but there were no “concrete proposals”. As for the initiative of the Vatican, the Russian foreign minister returned to the words of the Pope regarding the special cruelty of the Chechen and Buryat soldiers in Ukraine. Lavrov called them “non-Christian statements” that “do not help to strengthen the authority of the Papal States.” Thus, the only person who can save himself from Moscow’s rule is Kerry. Lavrov, the current US presidential climate envoy, said he understands that “negotiations should aim not at suppressing the enemy but at achieving results through respectful dialogue.” “We have met more than 50 times,” the Russian minister stressed, specifying “John as a person who is sincerely interested in the results and ready to solve problems together.” As for the announcement by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen of a plan to create a court before which Russia will have to answer for its actions in Ukraine, Moscow rejects it without much word. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says they are just attempts that “have no legitimacy”.

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