French President Expresses Hope for Lifting of Sanctions Against Russia

EU | September 7, 2015, Monday // 17:02|  views

French Ministers listen to President Francois Hollande (R) speaking during his biannual press conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, 07 September 2015. Photo: EPA

During his bi-annual news conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Monday, French President Francois Hollande expressed hope that recent progress in the implementation of the ceasefire in Ukraine will result in the lifting of sanctions against Russia.

Hollande proposed a meeting in the so-called Normandy format, comprising himself, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin and President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko.

The talks on Ukraine will be likely held ahead of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, which will begin at the end of September, the BBC informs.

Both Hollande and his Ukrainian counterpart marked the recent progress in the implementation of the ceasefire, which had been agreed in Minsk in February, but has often been violated, especially during the summer.

However several other commitments have to be fulfilled, including the holding of local elections in the autumn and implementing decentalisation reforms granting more autonomy to eastern regions.

Hollande assured that if local elections are held and decentralisation reform occurrs, then he will ask for the lifting of sanctions.

Poroshenko similarly reaffirmed on Saturday that over the past week the ceasefire was respected for the first time.

The Ukrainian President is working on the devolution of some powers to the regions in the east despite internal opposition.

Last week, Ukrainian MPs approved at first reading amendments to the constitution granting greater autonomy to the regions in the east, which are under the control of the pro-Russian separatists.

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Tags: France, Russia, Ukraine, sanctions, ceasefire, Normandy format, francois hollande, Angela Merkel, Vladimir Putin, Petro Poroshenko, local elections, autonomy, devolution, separatists


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