Ukraine, Gaza and trade talks on agenda as Blinken heads to Europe


U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken travels this week to France and Belgium for wide-ranging talks that include discussion of the situations in Ukraine, Gaza and Haiti and trade talks with the European Union and Armenia.

Blinken begins his trip in Paris, where the State Department says he will meet with President Emmanuel Macron about supporting Ukraine, preventing the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza from expanding and bringing stability to Haiti.

The United States and France have been among Ukraine’s top supporters in the two years since Russia launched an invasion of its neighbor.

Blinken is also set to express U.S. support for the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization as he holds talks with UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay.

The top U.S. diplomat will travel to Brussels for a meeting of NATO foreign ministers as the alliance celebrates its 75th anniversary.

While in Brussels, Blinken is also scheduled to meet with Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba and NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg.

A three-way meeting among the United States, European Union and Armenia is set for Friday, with the State Department saying the session will focus on “U.S. and EU support for Armenia’s economic resilience as it works to diversify its trade partnerships and address humanitarian needs.”

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan will lead their respective delegations.

Separate U.S.-EU trade and technology talks will close Blinken’s stop in Belgium.__VOA News