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Saturday, 7 February 2015

Europe, Russia talks on Ukraine agree to work on possible joint document

A tripartite meeting on the Ukraine crisis involving Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel ended here early Saturday with a commitment to working on a "possible joint document."

The nearly five-hour talks saw the leaders agree to draft a "possible joint document" that would include ideas proposed by the leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine, the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Saturday.

The meeting was "constructive and substantial" and efforts would be continued to draw up a "possible joint document" on the implementation of the Minsk agreements reached in the Belarussian capital of Minsk in September, Peskov said.

The Minsk agreements were aimed at committing the Kiev government and the pro-independence militants to an immediate ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, but failed when the two sides broke the five-month truce in January.

There will be a telephone conversation in the Normandy format on Sunday when preliminary results of Friday's meeting will be reviewed, he said, referring to talks in France in June that involved Putin, Merkel, Hollande and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

The French and German leaders have left the Kremlin and whisked straight to the airport without announcing the outcome of their talks.

Officials from the European delegations remained in Moscow to continue the talks ahead of the four-way phone call on Sunday.

  • The European pair's talks with the Kremlin strongman were seen as a big diplomatic push to prevent the 10-month conflict in east Ukraine from spilling out of control as Washington mulls supplying lethal weapons to Kiev.
The visit also reflects the EU's serious concern over a further deterioration of the situation in Ukraine driven by the threatened shift of military support, analysts say.

This visit was Merkel's first to Moscow since the start of the Ukraine crisis while Hollande had made a brief stopover in December.

Prior to the visit to the Kremlin, Hollande and Merkel first visited Kiev on Thursday to discuss with Poroshenko ways to peacefully settle the crisis in the eastern European country.

The trip also exposed a potential, maybe long-lasting rift between the United States and its European allies over Ukraine.

Both of the European leaders brokered a first ice-breaking meeting in June 2014 with Putin and Poroshenko.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, who was in Kiev on Thursday to talk with Poroshenko about US military support, did not travel to Moscow with the European leaders.

"Are we sure that we would be improving the situation for the people in Ukraine by delivering weapons?" German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen asked at a security conference on Friday in Munich.

The violence in Ukraine has killed over 5,300 people since April 2014, with almost 200 killed within in the last two weeks as fighting intensified sharply.

  Source:Xinhua - globaltimes.cn
7/2/15
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