Biden to meet Germany’s Scholz in Washington in February: US

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US President Joe Biden is to host German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Washington in February, a US official said Friday, denying reports of a spat between the two leaders.

Germany’s “Der Spiegel” magazine reported Friday that the country’s new leader had declined an invitation to a “last-minute meeting” this week with the US president to discuss Ukraine’s crisis with Russia.

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“I can tell you that the reports that the Chancellor has already turned down a last-minute invitation from President Biden are not accurate,” a spokesman for Scholz told AFP.

“This story is completely false, it’s made up, and the President has already had a good conversation with the Chancellor and is looking forward to welcoming him to Washington in February,” said a US official accompanying Secretary of State Antony Blinken on his flight back from Europe.

The visit to the White House has not yet been officially confirmed by Berlin.

Germany is at the heart of negotiations to finalize the unprecedented sanctions that the West has threatened should Russia invade Ukraine.

One of the key parts of the response planned by Washington is that Berlin would not put into service the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany, which is vital to the Kremlin’s economic ambitions.

In its article, “Der Spiegel” referred to a visit by CIA Director William Burns last week to the German chancellery, in which the weekly magazine alleged he “asked Scholz to adopt a firmer position vis-a-vis Russia,” without citing its source.

Read more: US: Swift, severe response if Russia sends troops to Ukraine

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