When Tony Abbott got a little over-excited with his shirt-front threat, saying “You bet you will”, it was perhaps more prophetic than a slip of the tongue.
It seems the other leaders have been lining up to have ‘robust conversations’ with Vladimir Putin, while Tony is lining up for photos, though he did put Vlad at the end of the line in the group shot.
Meanwhile, Tony’s buddy, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered a verbal shirt-front to Putin.
“I guess I’ll shake your hand but I have only one thing to say to you: you need to get out of Ukraine,” Harper told Putin at the summit in Brisbane, Australia, according to his spokesman Jason MacDonald.
Putin’s response to the comment was not positive, MacDonald said in an email, without elaborating.
Obama said the United States was at the forefront of “opposing Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, which is a threat to the world, as we saw in the appalling shoot-down of MH17” – a reference to the downing of a Malaysian airliner over rebel-held territory on July 17, with the loss of 298 lives.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the European Union was considering further financial sanctions against Russian individuals because of the crisis in Ukraine.
“The present situation is not satisfying,” she told reporters. “At present the listing of further persons is on the agenda.”
A Kremlin spokesman said the Ukraine crisis was the only topic discussed at a one-on-one meeting between Putin and British Prime Minister David Cameron, but he added both expressed interest in “ending confrontation” and rebuilding relations.
The European Union demanded Moscow withdraw troops and weapons from Ukraine and put pressure on rebels there to accept a ceasefire, after the latest fighting wrecked a truce agreed in September.
EU foreign ministers will meet on Monday to assess the situation in Ukraine and whether further steps including additional sanctions are needed against Russia, said European Council President Herman Van Rompuy. Obama plans to meet European leaders to discuss the matter on Sunday, he added.
Outside the summit, Ukrainian Australians staged an anti-Putin protest, wearing headbands reading “Putin, Killer”.
Meanwhile, Putin was all smiles, shaking hands with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Press secretary, Mr Peskov, also praised Tony Abbott, saying the Prime Minister was an absolutely hospitable host.
Call me Tony.
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