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By John R. Bolton
Reality calls for attaching Gaza to Egypt and the West Bank to Jordan
Topic - Sergey Lavrov
It is said that Russian President Vladimir Putin has been playing chess while President Obama has been playing checkers, or even marbles.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov are advancing far different proposals on how to calm tensions and de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine as Russia continues to mass troops along its border with the former Soviet republic.
The United States and Russia agreed Sunday that the crisis in Ukraine requires a diplomatic resolution, but four hours of talks between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov failed to break a tense East-West deadlock over how to proceed.
Secretary of State John Kerry met with Russian officials Sunday to discuss a diplomatic solution to tensions along Ukraine's borders, as American lawmakers expressed concerns that Vladimir Putin has designs on more territory in the region.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was in Paris Sunday preparing to meet with his Russian counterpart in another bid to calm tensions and resolve the crisis over Ukraine.
In a joint statement, the Group of Seven nations say they will meet without Russia. The move is aimed at isolating Moscow as punishment for its annexation of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine.
Despite six hours of talks, the U.S. and Russia found "no common vision" Friday over the crisis in Ukraine, where residents in the country's strategic Crimean region are holding a secession vote this weekend.
The U.S. and its European allies ratcheted up the threat of economic sanctions and visa restrictions on Russia on Thursday if Moscow continues to escalate the crisis in Ukraine — as thousands of Russian troops conducted military maneuvers near the Ukrainian border.
Five years ago, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton playfully presented Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov with a red "reset button," a symbol of the Obama administration's intention to improve ties that had hit a low point during the George W. Bush administration.
Underlying the talk about taking harsh punitive measures against Russia for its military incursion into Ukraine are economic complications and worries that sanctions levied against Moscow could, in the words of the Kremlin, "boomerang" back on the U.S. and Europe.
Facing off in Europe's capitals Wednesday, Russia and the West began building the elements of a diplomatic solution to Europe's gravest crisis since the Cold War - even as the West appeared increasingly resigned to an entrenched Russian presence in Crimea. NATO hit back by putting Russia on suspension, and the European Union extended $15 billion in aid to Ukraine, matching the amount the country's fugitive president accepted from Moscow to turn his back on an EU trade accord.
The Obama administration called on Russia on Wednesday to allow international monitors into the Crimean region of Ukraine, as the administration sought to broker a diplomatic solution to the tense standoff over the occupation by Russian troops.
President Obama warned Russia on Monday of possible U.S. sanctions over its military land grab in Ukraine, but Moscow brushed aside international threats, tightening its stranglehold on Crimea and calling audaciously for a national unity government in Kiev.
President Vladimir Putin knows there is little the West can do to get him to reverse his mobilization in Crimea, or to stop him from sending additional troops into other parts of Ukraine. But trade sanctions against Russia could be painful, and there are ways for him to get what he wants - keeping Ukraine from slipping out of his grasp - without ratcheting up the military pressure.
Russia's foreign minister slammed Western support of Ukraine's opposition, suggesting Saturday that it is helping fuel the escalation of violence.
Russia is still planning to meet with Ukrainian officials at an international conference in Geneva on Thursday, Lavrov said Wednesday during their press briefing.
"You can't send in tanks and at the same time hold talks. The use of force would sabotage the opportunity offered by the four-party negotiations in Geneva," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.