Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Merkel Thanks Harper, Obama for Diplomatic Support on Ukraine

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Merkel Thanks Harper, Obama for Diplomatic Support on Ukraine

Article excerpt

Merkel briefs Harper on Ukraine talks

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OTTAWA - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday night she is leaving North America having won support from the United States and Canada for her effort to find a peaceful diplomatic solution to the crisis in Ukraine.

In Ottawa, on a quick stopover after her earlier meeting on Monday in Washington with U.S. President Barack Obama, Merkel firmly played down suggestions of a transatlantic rift with the U.S. over its plan to potentially arm Ukraine forces with lethal defensive weaponry to help them defend against Russian-backed separatists.

It's a plan France and Germany oppose, and one that Obama said Monday he hasn't made up his mind about just yet.

"I hope that we shall be able to solve this conflict by diplomatic means because I think by military means it cannot be solved," Merkel said through a translator, standing next to Prime Minister Stephen Harper after a 45-minute meeting at his Parliament Hill office.

"I'm very grateful that both the American president and the Canadian prime minister support us in this endeavour and these efforts."

Harper lauded Merkel with praise, calling her "a woman of great vision," but the prime minister did not appear to take the option of joining the U.S. initiative off the table.

"We all hope that this situation will be resolved by diplomatic means," Harper said, noting that Canada's current assistance to Ukraine includes non-lethal military aid.

"Obviously, we'll look at all options. But obviously we'll proceed extremely cautiously in partnership and collaboration with all of our allies."

Merkel's stop in Canada's capital was her latest in a week of whirlwind shuttle diplomacy to find a peaceful solution to the escalating Russian-backed incursion into eastern Ukraine.

Merkel met Obama in Washington earlier Monday, where the two leaders pledged solidarity.

Obama said he hasn't made up his mind on the extra military assistance but if diplomacy fails, the U. …

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