WASHINGTON, May 16 (Xinhua) -- Russia will face significant additional costs if it continues its provocative behavior in Ukraine, U.S. President Barack Obama and his French counterpart Francois Hollande warned on Friday.
Speaking with Hollande by phone about the situation in Ukraine, Obama praised Kiev's efforts to unify the country by holding free and fair presidential elections on May 25 that "will lead to an inclusive constitutional reform process," said the White House.
Significant portions of the population in Ukraine, including its eastern regions, support a process by which decisions around constitutional reform and devolution of power from the center are made in an appropriate way, White House spokesman Jay Carney told a regular briefing on Friday.
The situation in the vast majority of Ukraine is "calm" and preparations for the upcoming elections are "on track," Carney said, adding that it is "certainly a good thing and a welcome development."
Obama and Hollande also discussed the situation in Nigeria and the upcoming regional conference in Paris that aims to improve regional cooperation to combat the terrorist threat posed by militant group Boko Haram, according to a statement issued by the White House.
France will host a summit on Saturday with Nigeria and its African neighbors on security after Boko Haram kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls in April. The incident triggered global outrage and raised calls for close security cooperation to fight terror cells in the region.
Russia says fresh UN report on Ukraine biased
MOSCOW, May 16 (Xinhua) -- The Russian Foreign Ministry on Friday accused the United Nations (UN) of intending to "whitewash" Kiev authorities with its new report on the situation in Ukraine.
"This report has little to do with the actual state of affairs with human rights in Ukraine," ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a statement, referring to the report released earlier in the day by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). Full story
Germany welcomes "round table" talks on Ukraine crisis
BERLIN, May 16 (Xinhua) -- The German government on Friday welcomed "round table" talks over the Ukraine crisis which began in the Ukrainian capital Kiev on Wednesday.
"It is a sign of responsibility and considered diplomacy," German government spokesman Steffen Seibert told a news conference on Friday. Full story