BEIRUT

Middle East

EU foreign ministers to discuss Syria, Ukraine

US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton speak at the start of the 5th EU-US Energy Council at the headquarters of the European Union in Brussels on April 2, 2014. AFP PHOTO / GEORGES GOBET

ATHENS: Foreign ministers from across the European Union are gathering in Athens for a two-day informal meeting, with talks on the first day to focus on the situation in Syria and in Ukraine.

Ukraine's fledging government and Western leaders have expressed concern about a buildup of tens of thousands of Russian forces near the Ukrainian border.

Ministers were to meet in Athens early Friday afternoon, and again on Saturday. Greece currently holds the rotating EU presidency.

Earlier this week, EU finance officials said they were working "intensively" on plans to join the International Monetary Fund's planned loan package for Ukraine. The IMF's executive board is expected this month decide on assistance worth up to $18 billion, with the EU considering a further $10 billion.

 

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