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MUNICH — Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday denied any divisions between the U.S. and Europe over how to handle Russia, as Germany announced another high-level summit aimed at stemming the crisis in Ukraine.
Kerry told a security conference in Munich that he wanted to "assure everybody there is no division, there is no split" between Washington and its European allies amid the crisis in Ukraine.
"We are united, we are working closely together," he told the conference following meetings with his French and German counterparts. "We all agree that this challenge will not end through military force. We are united in our diplomacy.”
Shortly after Kerry spoke, Germany's government confirmed that an "extensive" conference call had taken place between Chancellor Angela Merkel and the leaders of France, Russia and Ukraine. "They continued to work on a package of measures in the framework of efforts to an extensive settlement of the conflict in eastern Ukraine," the government said in a statement. The leaders agreed to convene a summit in Belarus on Wednesday, the statement added.
The State Department said Kerry will remain "closely engaged" as the discussions continue over the coming days. "We continue to support the ongoing diplomatic efforts by our European colleagues and remain in lockstep that any agreement must respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Sunday.
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