Obama, French leader huddle on Iran, Ukraine

Obama, French leader huddle on Iran, Ukraine
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President Obama met with French President François Hollande Monday at the G-7 summit in Germany, where they stressed common interests in blocking Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon and curbing Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine.

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The two leaders “agreed on maintaining strong … unity” with four other world powers in pursuing a nuclear agreement with Teheran, the White House said in a statement.

Obama and Hollande also agreed that economic sanctions against Russia should last until it abides by the terms of a cease-fire agreement with Ukraine reached late last year.

The meeting came as the United States is seeking to maintain unity among its allies as it confronts growing threats in the Middle East and an increasingly aggressive Russia.

During nuclear talks with Iran, which are expected to conclude at the end of the month, France has often taken a tougher stance than the U.S. and other negotiating partners.

French officials said publicly last month they would not sign off on an agreement if Iran rules out nuclear inspections at military sites, after Tehran’s supreme leader said it would not allow inspectors there.

Obama and Hollande also discussed climate change, a European free-trade agreement, unrest in Libya and the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the White House said.

The president will meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Monday amid tensions over the administration’s strategy to fight ISIS.