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France said Biden and Putin agreed to meet in ‘principle’, but obstacles remain.

PARIS – President Biden and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia have “accepted in principle” the summit to be held some time after Thursday, the French president said in a statement Monday.

The meeting, “held on the condition that Russia does not invade Ukraine”, will address “strategic and security stability in Europe.” The basis for a summit will be prepared during a meeting scheduled for Thursday between Foreign Minister Antony J. Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov, the statement said. Lavrov confirmed that he was ready to attend that meeting.

The French statement offers hope that Mr. Putin has decided against an invasion, at least for now. However, US officials are still uncertain that Thursday’s meeting between the countries’ top diplomats will take place.

Mr. Biden said on Friday that Russian forces plan to attack Ukraine within the next few days, and that US officials believe the target will be the capital, Kyiv, a city of 2.8 million people.

President Emmanuel Macron of France has always been more cautious about the possibility of an invasion and pressed for dialogue with RussiaMacron sees as a European power that should be integrated into a new security arrangement for the continent that reflects the end of the Cold War.

The agreement in principle a meeting follows two calls by Mr Macron to Mr Putin on Sunday and a call to Mr Biden. Mr. Macron is Putin’s main European interlocutor, starting a dialogue with him in 2019, the same year the French leader alarmed allies by saying NATO was “brain dead”.

Officials close to Mr Macron said he had worked to get the US and Russian leaders to agree in principle to hold a meeting and that the agreement showed both believed in the possibility of a solution. diplomacy for the crisis caused by the accumulation of the Russian Army on the Ukrainian border. But officials say the scope and content of the meeting still needs to be discussed.

Mr Macron, facing a presidential election on April 10 for which he has yet to officially declare himself a candidate, opts to devote himself to shuttle diplomacy in the Ukraine crisis – a job that seems certain to raise his stature if he can stop war.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/21/world/europe/france-says-biden-and-putin-have-agreed-to-the-principle-of-a-summit.html France said Biden and Putin agreed to meet in ‘principle’, but obstacles remain.

Fry Electronics Team

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