Home Politics Monitor “Putin has no interest in widening the conflict against a NATO member,” warns the head of American diplomacy
Politics Monitor

“Putin has no interest in widening the conflict against a NATO member,” warns the head of American diplomacy

The head of American diplomacy Antony Blinken is in France on Tuesday to discuss major international crises, including Ukraine and the Middle East, with his counterpart Stéphane Séjourné, President Emmanuel Macron and Minister of the Armed Forces Sébastien Lecornu.

The American Secretary of State first accompanied the Minister of the Armed Forces to Versailles, near Paris, to the site of Nexter, the subsidiary of the Franco-German group KNDS which produces the Caesar cannons delivered to kyiv.

France, which organized a summit at the end of February to provoke “a surge” in favor of Ukraine, asked its allies to redouble their efforts to defeat Russia.

Far ahead of Paris, the United States has been kyiv’s main support since the Russian invasion in February 2022. But in Washington, a $60 billion military aid program intended for Ukraine has been blocked for months by Republican opposition in Congress.

“Investments in the defense industrial base are also an investment in ourselves,” Blinken told reporters in Versailles, pleading for the US Congress to act “quickly and effectively”.

The French Minister of the Armed Forces announced that the production rate of Caesars would increase from six to twelve per month “in the coming times”.

Antony Blinken then had a working lunch with his French counterpart Stéphane Séjourné, who returned from Cairo where he discussed the war in Gaza, and from Beijing where he called on China to send “very clear messages to Russia”.

“Obviously, China plays a key role in (…) respect for international law, including the sovereignty of Ukraine,” argued the French minister to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.

It has been almost two years since the American Secretary of State visited France. His visit precedes the highly anticipated visit of American President Joe Biden, who is due to participate in the 80th anniversary of the Allied landings in Normandy on June 6, 1944.

With Stéphane Séjourné, Anthony Blinken will discuss “the major international crises: the Middle East and the war in Ukraine, but also Sudan, ahead of the international conference that France will co-organize on April 15”, indicated the quai d’ Orsay.

They will also discuss preparations for the NATO summit which will take place in Washington in July. “On Ukraine, the objective is the continuation and intensification of support” in kyiv, underlined Stéphane Séjourné’s entourage.

Initiatives for Ukraine

The French minister will also discuss “Franco-American cooperation on the next steps in the implementation of the initiatives decided” in favor of Ukraine at the end of February in Paris, the same source told AFP.

Heads of state and government then decided to work on several projects, including increasing munitions deliveries to Ukraine, cyber defense, mine clearance and even industrial arms production in Ukraine.
At the end of their meeting, Stéphane Séjourné and Antony Blinken will hold a joint press conference.

The US Secretary of State will then travel to UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), where he is expected to express US support for the organization during a meeting with its general director, Audrey Azoulay.

“This visit underlines the place fully regained by the United States within UNESCO since their return nine months ago,” declared a UNESCO diplomat to AFP in this regard, while the United States- United joined under Joe Biden the organization that they had left under Donald Trump (2017-2021).

At the end of the day, Antony Blinken will be received by Emmanuel Macron at the Elysée, where major international crises will once again be on the agenda, we learned from the French presidency.

Mr. Blinken will then travel to Brussels on Wednesday to participate in a meeting with his NATO counterparts on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the creation of the Atlantic Alliance.

On the sidelines of this meeting, he will also have a trilateral meeting with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and the leaders of the European Union.

This article is originally published on rtl.be

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