The Prime Minister spoke to President Obama this afternoon about the situation in eastern Ukraine. Both leaders agreed that Russia still needed to take several steps towards de-escalation, including support for a ceasefire; the release of all hostages; preventing the transit of weapons and fighters across the border; support for an OSCE monitoring mission on the border and engaging in a roadmap for talks that could lead to a peaceful resolution to the conflict. In the absence of such efforts, then the US and EU must be willing to impose further costs on Russia, as agreed at the G7 summit and the last European Council. The Prime Minister made clear that this would be his position at the European Council on Wednesday.
The leaders also welcomed Secretary Kerry’s successful visit to Afghanistan and the agreement of the 2 Afghan Presidential candidates to an audit of all the votes cast and a commitment that the eventual winner will establish a government of national unity. Both the Prime Minister and President noted the importance of finding a swift resolution that represents the will of the Afghan people and produces a government that can bring Afghanistan together, noting that there is no justification for resorting to violent or extra-constitutional means, which would prompt the halting of international assistance to Afghanistan.
They also talked about Iran in the context of the negotiations currently underway in Vienna. They noted that the interim agreement had been upheld to date and emphasised their steadfast commitment to negotiating a lasting agreement which gives the world confidence that the nuclear activities of Iran are exclusively for peaceful purposes.
Finally, they discussed the situation in Iraq and the ongoing threat posed by ISIS. They agreed on the urgent need to establish an inclusive government in Iraq, which acts in a way that unites people across the country rather than divides them.