Biden meets with German Scholz, discusses strengthening Russia near Ukraine


U.S. President Joe Biden speaks at the start of a virtual summit with leaders of democratic nations at the State Department’s Democracy Summit at the White House in Washington, U.S. on December 9, 2021. REUTERS / Leah Millis

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WASHINGTON, December 10 (Reuters) – US President Joe Biden spoke with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Friday to congratulate him on his appointment.

“Today I spoke with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to congratulate him on his appointment,” Biden said in a Twitter post.

Biden “reaffirmed his support for strong US-German relations and his desire to further strengthen transatlantic cooperation,” the White House said.

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He said the two leaders discussed issues such as “continuing efforts to end the COVID-19 pandemic, counter the threat of climate change and deal with escalating Russian forces surrounding Ukraine” .

Scholz, a social democrat, became German chancellor on Wednesday, ending 16 years of conservative rule under Angela Merkel and launching her three-way coalition which is committed to boosting green investments and strengthening European integration. Read more

Biden said he made it clear to Russian President Vladimir Putin in a two-hour virtual meeting on Tuesday that there would be unprecedented economic consequences if Russia invaded Ukraine.

During the meeting, Putin demanded guarantees that NATO would not expand further east.

Earlier on Friday, Scholz said he was “deeply concerned” about the build-up of Russian troops along the Ukrainian border and “that is why it is important that Europe is firm in this area and clearly shows that the borders of Europe are inviolable “. Read more

Preparations for punitive measures against the Russian economy were discussed on Friday during a call between US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and German Finance Minister Christian Lindner.

Yellen “has expressed interest in partnering with Germany on contingencies that could be quickly deployed to impose severe costs on the Russian economy,” the US Treasury Department said.

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Report by Mohammad Zargham; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall and Mark Porter

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