France urges suspension of preparation for Sochi G8 over Crimea

PARIS, March 2 Sun Mar 2, 2014 4:35am EST

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PARIS, March 2 (Reuters) - French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius pressed on Sunday for preparatory meetings ahead of a G8 meeting of world powers in Sochi to be suspended to raise pressure on Russia to defuse an escalating crisis in Ukraine.

The United States has said it will not participate in preparatory meetings ahead of the summit, signalling displeasure over Russia's deployment of forces in Crimea.

"France's position is to call for the suspension of preparation ahead of the G8 meeting in Sochi as long as the Russian partners have not returned to principles in agreement with the G8 and G7," Fabius told Europe 1 radio. (Reporting By Nicholas Vinocur; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

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