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EU’s von der Leyen says Europe must be involved in Ukraine talks

PARIS (AFP) – European Union (EU) Commission Chief Ursula von der Leyen said yesterday that negotiations to resolve tensions between Russia and Ukraine must involve Europe.

Speaking ahead of crunch security talks between the United States (US) and Russia next week, von der Leyen told a press conference in Paris: “One thing is clear: no solution without Europe. Whatever the solution, Europe has to be involved.”

She added that the European Union was “very present” in Ukraine, with financial aid totalling EUR6 billion, as well as highly dependent on its position as a transit hub for gas imports from Russia.

French President Emmanuel Macron, speaking alongside von der Leyen, stressed that US-Russia talks were a positive development, but said they would not affect “European security architecture” which was “up to us to build”.

“It’s a good thing that there are discussions between the US and Russia,” he said.

“The coordination between the Europeans and Americans is exemplary on the matter,” he added, while also calling for the EU to hold its own talks with Moscow.

“Dialogue does not mean making concessions,” he said.

With tens of thousands of Russian troops massed on Ukraine’s border, the administration of US President Joe Biden has accepted talks in Geneva next Monday with Moscow which has proposed agreements to limit NATO’s expansion.

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