Obama hosting Germany's Merkel to talk Ukraine, Russia, counterterrorism, Islamic State, Iran


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WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is hosting German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House next week.

The White House says the Feb. 9 visit will include a meeting in the Oval Office followed by a working lunch.

Obama and Merkel spoke by phone last week about their concern over increasing violence in Ukraine after separatists launched a series of offenses along the Russian border. Obama's aides said the two leaders agreed Russia must be held accountable for its support of separatists and failure to fulfill its commitments under a peace agreement.

The White House says the leaders' upcoming meeting will cover that dispute, plus counterterrorism, the Islamic State, Afghanistan and Iran. They also plan to discuss economic growth, trade, climate change and Germany's hosting of June's Group of 7 summit.

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