Four-Way Ministerial Meeting on Ukraine Crisis to Be Held Friday

Ukraine | January 6, 2015, Tuesday // 11:46|  views

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (C) speaks to soldiers at a military base near Zhytomir, about 140 kilometers west of the capital Kiev, Ukraine, 05 January 2015. Photo EPA/BGNES

A ministerial meeting on resolving the Ukrainian crisis in the so-called “Normandy format” will be held in Berlin on Friday, according to Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexei Makeyev.

ITAR-TASS quoted Makeyev as writing on Twitter on Monday that the foreign ministers of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France are going to meet in the German capital to discuss options for the peaceful settlement of the conflict in southeastern Ukraine that has claimed the lives of more than 4,000 people since April 2014.

“The four ministers will talk January 9,” Makeyev said following a “Normandy format” meeting in Berlin of political directors from the respective ministries of foreign affairs.

The name “Normandy format” emerged after the leaders of the four countries met to discuss the crisis in Ukraine on 6 June on the sidelines of the celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the D-day in Normandy, France.

In an interview for German weekly Welt am Sonntag German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Sunday that “the humanitarian obligation to help people in Eastern Ukraine through the winter” might promote a settlement of the crisis along the principles of the Minsk peace accords.

“We would like to use this opportunity. What we really need now is more steps to ensure truce, which must be maintained in reality,” Steinmeier said.

Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko told a news conference on 29 December that a “Normandy format” summit meeting would be held in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana on 15 January. 

Both France and Germany said the meeting in Astana would be worth the effort if it led to a lasting ceasefire between Kiev government forces and pro-Russian rebels in southeastern Ukraine.

“I think there will be progress,” French President Francois Hollande told France Inter radio on Monday. “If it's just to meet and talk without making any actual advances then there's no point.”

According to Steffen Seibert, a spokesman for Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, “such a meeting only makes sense if we can make real progress.”

“This would be first and foremost achieving the full implementation of the Minsk peace accord and a genuine and lasting ceasefire, a contact line between areas controlled by Ukraine and rebels, and a withdrawal of heavy weaponry,” Reuters quoted Seibert as saying.

Meanwhile, a top UN diplomat said on Monday that the UN Security Council is going to discuss the situation in Ukraine later this month.

Chile’s permanent representative to the UN and Security Council President for January 2015, Cristin Barros Melet, told reporters the issue has been put on the Security Council’s agenda for the month at the request of the British and Lithuanian delegations, according to ITAR-TASS.

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Tags: Ukraine, Russia, Poroshenko, France, Germany, Steinmeier, Merkel, Hollande, Astana, summit, Normandy format, UN Security Council, crisis, conflict


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