Minsk Summit Highlights A Shaky NATO Union – Russia Is Far From Isolated
from Gold Core – Merkel and Hollande to attend peace talks in Belarus to resolve Ukraine’s civil war today – US and UK not invited – Germany and US present united front but tensions ripple under the surface – Foreign Minister of Greece, Nikolaos Kotzias, to meet his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov today as the crucial Eurogroup of finance ministers meet to determine the fate of Greece and the Euro – Russia negotiates free-trade agreement with Egypt. Cyprus permits Russia to use ports and airstrips for humanitarian and emergency purposes The leaders of Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine will meet in the Belarusian capital of Minsk today in a bid to resolve Ukraine’s brutal civil war. The meeting, which the Russia Today news agency describe as a Franco-German peace initiative, will not include the leaders of the US or Britain. RT suggests that the talks were triggered by John Kerry’s visit to Kiev where he announced the possibility of the US arming Ukraine government troops adding that “Europe is reluctant to have a full-blown war on its doorstep.” Preliminary talks between Merkel, Hollande and Putin in Moscow on Friday were held behind closed doors. On Monday Merkel met with Obama in Washington. While they tried to present a united front the subtext of their statements and their body language gave a different impression.
US politicians have been clamouring for Obama to provide weapons to the Ukrainian government. But Merkel was unequivocal in her response to such proposals. “I don’t see a military solution” she said adding that sending arms to the Ukraine government would be “not just highly risky but counterproductive.” Obama insisted that the arms option was under “ongoing analysis” while at the same time agreeing with Merkel that, for now, the civil war would not be resolved by military means. He insisted that Russia’s isolation would worsen if it failed to change course. Meanwhile, geo-politics will play as great a role in today’s Eurogroup meeting of finance ministers as economic considerations. The Greek government have sent a clear message to the EU when the Greek Kathimerini news agency reported on Monday, “Greece’s Foreign Minister Nikolaos Kotzias is to visit Moscow on Wednesday to hold talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s Interfax and TASS news agencies reported on Monday citing a source in the Russian Foreign Ministry.” Reuters reported Greek defence minister, Panos Kammenos as saying, “What we want is a deal. But if there is no deal – hopefully (there will be) – and if we see that Germany remains rigid and wants to blow apart Europe, then we have the obligation to go to Plan B.” “Plan B is to get funding from another source. It could the United States at best, it could be Russia, it could be China or other countries.” That Mr. Kotzias will be in Moscow today is telling. At the same time, Cyprus have announced an agreement with Russia that will allow Russia’s military to use it’s ports and airstrips for humanitarian and emergency purposes. “We want to avoid further deterioration in relations between Russia and Europe,” said President Anastasiades. “Cyprus and Russia enjoy traditionally good relations and that is not going to change,” he added. Continue Reading>>>