PREVIEW – Blinken to attend G7 in UK before heading to Ukraine
WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik – May 3, 2021) US Secretary of State Antony Blinken begins his overseas trip on Monday to discuss competition with China and post-pandemic recovery at the G7 ministerial meeting in United Kingdom, before traveling to Ukraine where he will support reforms and reaffirm American support for the country amid its tensions with Russia.
On May 3-5, Blinken attends the G7 Foreign and Development Ministers’ meeting and holds a series of bilateral engagements in London. He is going to Kiev from May 5 to 6.
“On the agenda. It will be filled with important issues including COVID-19, economic recovery and growth, the climate crisis, human rights, food security, gender equality and more The list of challenges is long, but our partnership is deep and strong to meet these challenges, ”State Department official Erica Barks-Ruggles told reporters of the G7 leg of the trip.
G7 events include a separate session on China – to discuss, according to Barks-Ruggles, “how we can work closely with our allies and partners to meet our collective challenges from a position of strength.” Another task for ministers is to lay the groundwork for the G7 summit in Cornwall, UK, in June.
Blinken plans to meet with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Foreign Minister Dominic Raab. Its other bilateral deals include talks with counterparts from Japan, South Korea, South Africa and Brunei. Blinken could raise the issue of Nord Stream 2, a Russian-built gas-exporting undersea pipeline, during his possible meeting with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.
“I think we will meet the Germans separately in a bilateral format. Nord Stream 2 remains a problem. You have heard it from the President, the Secretary, the spokesperson. And we will continue to express our views very clearly. to the Germans of this project, which it must stop, ”Philip Reeker, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, told reporters.
He mentioned Russia among the “common challenges” to be discussed in London.
In Kiev, Blinken will meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, local lawmakers and representatives of civil society.
The secretary will reaffirm “the unwavering support of the United States for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine in the face of continued Russian aggression.” The visit comes after Russia began withdrawing its troops from Ukraine’s borders after a massive build-up that frightened Kiev and its Western bosses.
Blinken will also encourage “further progress on Ukraine’s institutional reform program, in particular anti-corruption action,” according to the State Department.
The United States described the reforms as essential to “secure Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic future”.
The United States recently criticized Ukraine for reshuffling the management of Naftogaz, the country’s leading energy company. Reeker said the issue would be raised again by Blinken who would call for adherence to good transparent corporate governance, especially in state-run entities.