PRIME MINISTER HARPER TO VISIT UKRAINE AS TENSIONS GROW

Mar 14, 2014

By Michael Kramer

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Prime Minister Stephen Harper will visit Ukraine next week.
He is scheduled to take part in a nuclear security summit at The Hague March 24-25 and he will add a side trip to Ukraine on March 22.

Harper is the first G7 leader to visit the country since the new government took office – under the shadow of Russian intervention.

The United States of America and Russia appear to be entrenched in their positions on Ukraine – despite six hours of talks at a high-level today in London.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says he and U-S Secretary of State John Kerry have found “no common vision” about the crisis ahead of Sunday’s secession vote in Crimea.

Kerry says if Russia’s parliament ratifies the vote, it would be akin to a “backdoor annexation” of the region.

Meanwhile –

The U.N. Security Council is meeting Saturday to vote on a resolution on the Ukraine crisis, but permanent member Russia is certain to veto it.

The Luxembourg mission to the U.N. tweeted today that the council will meet Saturday morning. Luxembourg presently holds the council presidency.

A draft resolution, obtained by Associated Press, urges all parties “to pursue immediately the peaceful resolution of this dispute through direct political dialogue.”

It goes on to say Ukraine has not authorized Sunday’s referendum in Crimea on whether to become part of Russia, and declares “that this referendum can have no validity, and cannot form the basis for any alteration of the status of Crimea.”

Western powers are hoping that China, which usually supports Russia, will abstain – rather than join Russia in vetoing the resolution.

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