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Obama, Germany's Merkel discuss potential resolution to Ukraine crisis.

NNA - President Barack Obama spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday about a potential resolution to the crisis ignited by Russian intervention in Ukraine's Crimea region, a senior administration official said.

Under the proposal, Russia would pull back its forces in Crimea to their bases in the region, limit the Russian troop numbers to a Ukraine-mandated ceiling of 11,000, and allow in international monitors to ensure the human rights of ethnic Russians are being protected, the official said.

The so-called off-ramp out of the crisis would allow for direct discussions between the Russians and the new Ukraine government with the potential for some international mediation. Ukraine elections in May would proceed.

Obama made clear to Merkel he would not attend a G8 summit scheduled for June in Sochi, Russia, if the status quo remains in Ukraine, the official added. Preparatory meetings about the summit have already been suspended.

In comments at a fundraiser on Tuesday night, Obama said: "We may be able to de-escalate over the next several days and weeks. ... It's a serious situation and we are spending a lot of time on it." A White House statement about the Obama-Merkel phone call said the two leaders expressed grave concern over Russia's "clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity." They "agreed on the importance of de-escalating the situation, including through the deployment of international observers and human rights monitors, and of initiating direct talks between Russia and Ukraine," the White House said.

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Publication:National News Agency Lebanon (NNA)
Geographic Code:4EXRU
Date:Mar 5, 2014
Words:257
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