US says 'too early to tell' if Russians serious on security talks

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White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said it was "too early" to determine whether Russians were serious about the high-stakes talks in Geneva with US diplomats about security issues surrounding Ukraine and Europe (AFP/Jim WATSON)
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  • Jen Psaki
    Jen Psaki
    American political advisor and White House press secretary

The White House said Tuesday it is "too early" to know whether Russia is serious about resolving security tensions in and around Ukraine.

After talks with US diplomats in Geneva and with more negotiations to come in Brussels, "it's too early to tell whether the Russians are serious about the path to diplomacy or not," Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.

Psaki said it remained to be seen "if they're prepared to negotiate seriously –- we are –- or whether they'll use discussions as a pretext that diplomacy couldn't possibly work."

The next round of talks will be between NATO and Russia on Wednesday, with a third session between the OSCE regional security body and Russia planned for Thursday.

Washington and its European allies are pressuring Russia to pull a large force back from the border with Ukraine, while Moscow is pushing the West to agree to a long list of what the Kremlin says are security guarantees.

Psaki reiterated the US rejection of Russia's demand that Ukraine not be offered NATO membership one day, saying this is "a matter only for Ukraine and the 30 NATO allies, not for other countries to determine."

"There are a range of discussions that can be part of a diplomatic path but ultimately it's up to the Russians to determine about whether they're going to take a serious approach to it or not," she said.


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