Obama tries to rally world to isolate Russia

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Obama tries to rally world to isolate Russia
US President Barack Obama speaks during a meeting with his Chinese counterpart at the US ambassador's residence in The Hague on March 24, 2014 ahead of the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS). AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) meet at the US ambassador's residence in The Hague on March 24, 2014 ahead of the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS). AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) meet at the US ambassador's residence in The Hague on March 24, 2014 ahead of the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS). AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS - MARCH 24: US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister of Pakistan Muhammad Nawaz Sharif look at a gift as they attend the opening session of the at the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit on March 24, 2014 in The Hague, Netherlands. The Nuclear Security Summit, held March 24-25, will be attended by world leaders and is aimed at preventing nuclear terrorism. (Photo by Yves Logghe - Pool/Getty Images)
THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS - MARCH 24: US President Barack Obama attends the opening session of the at the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit on March 24, 2014 in The Hague, Netherlands. The Nuclear Security Summit, held March 24-25, will be attended by world leaders and is aimed at preventing nuclear terrorism. (Photo by Yves Logghe - Pool/Getty Images)
THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS - MARCH 24: A general view of the opening session of the at the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit on March 24, 2014 in The Hague, Netherlands. The Nuclear Security Summit, held March 24-25, will be attended by world leaders and is aimed at preventing nuclear terrorism. (Photo by Yves Logghe - Pool/Getty Images)
British Prime Minister David Cameron (C) chats with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi (R) and Hungarian Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi (L) as they attend the opening session of the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in The Hague on March 24, 2014. AFP PHOTO/POOL/YVES LOGGHE (Photo credit should read YVES LOGGHE/AFP/Getty Images)
THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS - MARCH 24: US Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister of the Netherlands Frans Timmermans meet ahead of their bilateral meeting on March 24, 2014 in The Hague, Netherlands. The Nuclear Security Summit, held March 24-25, will be attended by world leaders and is aimed at preventing nuclear terrorism. (Photo by Jerry Lampen - Pool/Getty Images)
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends the opening session of the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in The Hague on March 24, 2014. AFP PHOTO/POOL/YVES LOGGHE (Photo credit should read YVES LOGGHE/AFP/Getty Images)
THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS - MARCH 24: French President Francois Hollande arrives at the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit on March 24, 2014 in The Hague, Netherlands. The Nuclear Security Summit, held March 24-25, will be attended by world leaders and is aimed at preventing nuclear terrorism. (Photo by Evert-Jan Daniels - Pool/Getty Images)
THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS - MARCH 24: US President Barack Obama arrives at the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit on March 24, 2014 in The Hague, Netherlands. The Nuclear Security Summit, held March 24-25, will be attended by world leaders and is aimed at preventing nuclear terrorism. (Photo by Evert-Jan Daniels - Pool/Getty Images)
THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS - MARCH 24: US President Barack Obama arrives at the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit on March 24, 2014 in The Hague, Netherlands. The Nuclear Security Summit, held March 24-25, will be attended by world leaders and is aimed at preventing nuclear terrorism. (Photo by Evert-Jan Daniels - Pool/Getty Images)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (C) arrives at Rotterdam The Hague airport on March 24, 2014 ahead of the March 24-25 Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in The Hague. AFP PHOTO/POOL/MICHIEL WIJNBERGH (Photo credit should read MICHIEL WIJNBERGH/AFP/Getty Images)
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrives at The World Forum in The Hague on March 24, 2014 on the first day of the two-day Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) . AFP PHOTO/POOL/MARCO DE SWART (Photo credit should read MARCO DE SWART/AFP/Getty Images)
THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS - MARCH 24: US President Barack Obama shakes hands with Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte at the World Forum Convention Center ahead of the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit on March 24, 2014 in The Hague, Netherlands. The Nuclear Security Summit, held March 24-25, will be attended by world leaders and is aimed at preventing nuclear terrorism. (Photo by Freek van den Bergh - Pool/Getty Images)
THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS - MARCH 24: US President Barack Obama shakes hands with Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte at the World Forum Convention Center ahead of the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit on March 24, 2014 in The Hague, Netherlands. The Nuclear Security Summit, held March 24-25, will be attended by world leaders and is aimed at preventing nuclear terrorism. (Photo by Freek van den Bergh - Pool/Getty Images)
THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS - MARCH 24: US President Barack Obama arrives at the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit on March 24, 2014 in The Hague, Netherlands. The Nuclear Security Summit, held March 24-25, will be attended by world leaders and is aimed at preventing nuclear terrorism. (Photo by Marco de Swart - Pool/Getty Images)
THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS - MARCH 24: US President Barack Obama arrives at the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit on March 24, 2014 in The Hague, Netherlands. The Nuclear Security Summit, held March 24-25, will be attended by world leaders and is aimed at preventing nuclear terrorism. (Photo by Evert-Jan Daniels - Pool/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama arrives at The World Forum in The Hague on March 24, 2014 on the first day of the two-day Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) . AFP PHOTO/POOL/EVERT-JAN DANIELS (Photo credit should read Evert-Jan Daniels/AFP/Getty Images)
Netherlands' Prime Minister Mark Rutte (R) shakes hands with US president Barack Obama waves upon his arrival at the nuclear security summit, on March 24, 2014 in The Hague. AFP PHOTO/POOL FREEK VAN DEN BERGH (Photo credit should read Freek van den Bergh/AFP/Getty Images)
US president Barack Obama waves upon his arrival to take part in the nuclear security summit, on March 24, 2014 in The Hague. AFP PHOTO/POOL MARCO DE SWART (Photo credit should read MARCO DE SWART/AFP/Getty Images)
US Secretary of State John Kerry (R) arrives with Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans to brief the press following a meeting in The Hague on March 24, 2014 on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS). AFP PHOTO/POOL/JERRY LAMPEN (Photo credit should read JERRY LAMPEN/AFP/Getty Images)
Dutch Foreign Minister Mark Rutte (R) greets Philippines' Vice President Jejomar Binay upon his arrival at The World Forum in The Hague on March 24, 2014 on the first day of the two-day Nuclear Security Summit (NSS). AFP PHOTO/POOL/FREEK VAN DEN BERGH (Photo credit should read Freek van den Bergh/AFP/Getty Images)
British Prime Minister David Cameron (C) arrives at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam on March 24, 2014 ahead of the March 24-25 Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in The Hague. AFP PHOTO/POOL/MARTIJN BEEKMAN (Photo credit should read Martijn Beekman/AFP/Getty Images)
Dutch Foreign Minister Mark Rutte (R) greets Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt upon her arrival at The World Forum in The Hague on March 24, 2014 on the first day of the two-day Nuclear Security Summit (NSS). AFP PHOTO/POOL/FREEK VAN DEN BERGH (Photo credit should read Freek van den Bergh/AFP/Getty Images)
Dutch Foreign Minister Mark Rutte (R) greets South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane upon her arrival at The World Forum in The Hague on March 24, 2014 on the first day of the two-day Nuclear Security Summit (NSS). AFP PHOTO/POOL/FREEK VAN DEN BERGH (Photo credit should read Freek van den Bergh/AFP/Getty Images)
Dutch Foreign Minister Mark Rutte (R) greets European Council president Herman Van Rompuy upon his arrival at The World Forum in The Hague on March 24, 2014 on the first day of the two-day Nuclear Security Summit (NSS). AFP PHOTO/POOL/FREEK VAN DEN BERGH (Photo credit should read Freek van den Bergh/AFP/Getty Images)
Dutch Foreign Minister Mark Rutte (R) greets Hashim Yamani, president of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renawable Energy, at The World Forum in The Hague on March 24, 2014 on the first day of the two-day Nuclear Security Summit (NSS). AFP PHOTO/POOL/FREEK VAN DEN BERGH (Photo credit should read Freek van den Bergh/AFP/Getty Images)
South Korean President Park Guen-hye meets with Dutch King Willem-Alexander at the Noordeinde Palace in The Hague on March 24, 2014 ahead of the Nuclear Security Summit (NSS). AFP PHOTO/POOL/BART MAAT (Photo credit should read BART MAAT/AFP/Getty Images)
Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt arrives at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam on March 24, 2014 ahead of the March 24-25 Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in The Hague. AFP PHOTO/POOL/JOHN THYS (Photo credit should read JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images)
THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS - MARCH 24: (L-R) Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, President Park Guen-hye of South Korea, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands and Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands pose at Noordeinde Palace on March 24, 2014 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The Nuclear Security Summit, held March 24-25, will be attended by world leaders and is aimed at preventing nuclear terrorism. (Photo by Bart Maat - Pool/Getty Images)
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THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) - President Barack Obama gathered with world leaders in a day of delicate diplomacy, as he sought to rally the international community Monday around efforts to isolate Russia following its incursion into Ukraine.

Nuclear terrorism was the official topic as Obama and other world leaders streamed in to a convention center in The Hague for a two-day nuclear summit. But the real focus was on a hurriedly scheduled meeting of the Group of Seven industrialized economies to address the crisis in Ukraine on the sidelines of the nuclear summit.

The U.S., Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan were to participate - but not Russia. Discussion among Obama and his G-7 counterparts will center on economic aid to Ukraine, while at the same time seeking to segregate Putin from the exclusive group, which Russia usually joins in Group of Eight meetings.

In a show of western solidarity, Obama declared shortly after arriving in the Netherlands on Monday morning that the U.S. and Europe stand together behind Ukraine.

"We're united in imposing a cost on Russia for its actions so far," Obama said after meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

Obama's deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters the G-7 meeting was aimed at foreshadowing "what economic sanctions Russia will be faced with if it continues down this course." He said the countries also would discuss international efforts to assist the fledgling Ukrainian government, as well as what the G-7's relationship with Russia will be if the current standoff continues.

However, Rhodes indicated that the U.S. and other nations were not prepared to formally kick Russia out of the Group of Eight. "The door is open to Russia to deescalate the situation," he said.

Rhodes said that while the G-7 would not levy joint sanctions on behalf of the alliance, the goal was to have individual members coordinate their approach as they levy future penalties. "We would like to see a steady ratcheting up of that pressure," he said.

Obama also sought to coax support one of Moscow's closest allies as he met one-on-one talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping. China has often sided with Russia in disputes with the West, but U.S. officials have been appealing to Beijing's well-known opposition to outside interference in another nation's domestic affairs.

Obama treaded carefully in statements with Xi before their meeting, saying only that they planned to discuss the situation in Ukraine.

"I believe ultimately, that by working together, China and the United States can help strengthen international law and respect for the sovereignty of nations and establish the kind of rules internationally that allow all peoples to thrive," Obama said in a subtle appeal for Chinese support.

China, a frequent Russian ally, abstained a week ago from voting on a United Nations Security Council resolution declaring Crimea's secession referendum illegal. With Russia vetoing the measure and the 13 other council members voting in favor, China's abstention served to isolate Moscow internationally.

The long-planned nuclear summit kicked off with a highly theatrical opening ceremony, plus an announcement that Japan would turn over to the U.S. more than 700 pounds of weapons-grade plutonium and a supply of highly-enriched uranium, a victory for Obama's efforts to secure nuclear materials around the world.

But no issue commands more of Obama's and Europe's attention than Russia's annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and the fear that Moscow could decide to expand further into Ukraine.

Obama also is attempting to use his weeklong trip to personally reconnect not only with Europe but Asia and the Middle East, all strategically crucial regions with their own tensions and qualms about the U.S.

On Tuesday, Obama plans a joint meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Park Geun-hye, a session preceded by a sit-down with Prince Mohamed bin Zayed, crown prince of Abu Dhabi, the richest emirate in the United Arab Emirates federation.

In an interview with the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant published before he arrived Monday, Obama says his message to European leaders is that Russian President Vladimir Putin needs to "understand the economic and political consequences of his actions in Ukraine."

Still, he said he does not view Europe as a battleground between the East and the West. "That's the kind of thinking that should have ended with the Cold War," he said. "On the contrary, it's important that Ukraine have good relations with the United States, Russia, and Europe."

More broadly, the Ukraine crisis will test Obama's ability to forge a unified and forceful stance against Russia from European leaders who are alarmed by Putin's moves but whose economies are dependent on Russian energy and trade.

In the interview, Obama conceded that the sanctions he has threatened against Russian economic sectors could have worldwide impacts.

But, he added: "If Russia continues to escalate the situation, we need to be prepared to impose a greater cost."
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