German, Russian, Ukrainian, French Leaders to Meet in Berlin
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will host a meeting with the Russian, Ukrainian and French presidents on Wednesday to discuss efforts toward peace in eastern Ukraine
Berlin , Germany, Federal Republic of - 18 Oct 2016 - New York Times
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will host a meeting with the Russian, Ukrainian and French presidents on Wednesday to discuss efforts toward peace in eastern Ukraine — their first summit in a year, her office said.
Merkel invited Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and French President Francois Hollande to
"assess the implementation of the Minsk (peace) agreements since the last meeting and discuss further steps," Merkel spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement Tuesday.
The 2015 Minsk agreement brokered by France and Germany has helped end large-scale battles between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine, but clashes have continued and efforts to reach a political settlement have stalled.
The four leaders have held sporadic meetings to discuss the accord's implementation, the last of them in Paris on Oct. 2 last year.The decision to hold the Wednesday evening meeting in Berlin follows a flurry of telephone diplomacy over the past week, but host Germany already has downplayed chances of a breakthrough.
Little progress despite alarming humanitarian situationIt is the first time since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis in early 2014 that Putin is to visit Germany. Relations between Russia and Germany have been frosty in the face of EU trade sanctions on Russia passed in the wake of the annexation of Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula in 2014.
"If there were such a meeting, no one should expect that it will resolve all the problems," Seibert said on Monday."From the cease-fire, which isn't really one, to the stalled political process, a lot really is not satisfactory at all," he said. "But Minsk is the only thing we have, the only thing everyone can call on and that sets out a peaceful and political road for everyone."
Russia continues to back a separatist, pro-Moscow insurgency in eastern Ukraine, which has claimed nearly 10,000 lives, including those of all passengers and crew members on board Malaysian Airlines flight MH17. Moscow has denied accusations that it sends troops and weaponry across its border with Ukraine to further fuel the conflict.
Franco-Russian ties suffer setbacks over SyriaAccording to French President Francois Hollande, the aim of the summit is to help Ukraine regain control of its borders with Russia. Hollande has called on all parties involved in the conflict to draw up a roadmap to end the conflict. This followed recent talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko.Diplomatic ties between France and Russia suffered setbacks after Putin canceled a bilateral meeting between the two countries last week. French President Hollande had announced ahead of the meeting that the only thing he wanted to discuss with the Russian President was the war in Syria.
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