News ID: 319214
Published: 0234 GMT January 07, 2022

EU angry over exclusion from Ukraine talks

EU angry over exclusion from Ukraine talks

French President Emmanuel Macron (R) and European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen attend a media conference after a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, on January 7, 2022.

Direct talks between the US and Russian diplomats on Ukraine infuriated the European Union as it has not invited to the negotiations.

EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said Friday that negotiations to resolve tensions between Russia and Ukraine must involve Europe.

Speaking ahead of crunch security talks between the United States 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", AFP reported.

She added that the European Union was "very present" in Ukraine, with financial aid totalling six billion euros ($6.7 billion), as well as highly dependent on its position as a transit hub for gas imports from Russia.

Talks between US and Russian diplomats will begin in Geneva on Monday after weeks of tensions over Russian troop deployments near its border with neighbouring Ukraine, with envoys on each side trying to avert a crisis.

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 United States and Russia," he said.

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

"Dialogue does not mean making concessions," he said.

Earlier on Friday, France's foreign minister said that Russia was trying to bypass the European Union by holding talks directly with the US, according to Reuters.

"(Russian President) Vladimir Putin wants to bypass the European Union... he wants to put dents in the EU cohesion, which is solidifying", Jean-Yves Le Drian told BFM TV and RMC Radio.

"You can't envisage EU security without the Europeans." France has just taken over the six-month rotating presidency of the EU.

Russia has moved nearly 100,000 troops close to its border with Ukraine. It says it is not preparing for an invasion but has listed its demands to ease tensions with West.

Among the demands are ruling out further NATO expansion and Ukraine's accession to the alliance and abandoning any NATO military activities in Ukraine, Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia.






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