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Russian top diplomat: Normandy Four talks may be another 'meeting for meeting’s sake'

November 24, 2016, 13:25 UTC+3
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov doubs that the parties will be able to agree on all aspects
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© EPA/YURI KOCHETKOV

MOSCOW, November 24. /TASS/. Russia is ready to take part in a new Normandy Quartet (Russia, Germany, France, Ukraine) meeting scheduled for November 29, provided it will not be another pointless meeting, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a press conference on Thursday.

On Wednesday, German top diplomat Frank Walter Steinmeier, while addressing the Bundestag (German parliament), said that Germany and France had plans to arrange a Normandy Quartet ministerial meeting in Belarus’s capital of Minsk on November 29.

"We have received an invitation signed by the foreign ministers of Germany and France, dated November 18," Lavrov said. "It arrived only the day before yesterday."

The Russian Foreign Minister noted that on October 19, the participants of the Berlin-hosted Normandy Quartet summit had decided that a road map should be drawn up and approved by the four countries’ foreign ministers. "The leaders said that a ministerial meeting aimed at approving the document, should be held until the end of November but they also said that this meeting should produce meaningful results which means the parties need to agree on a road map," he noted.

"I doubt that it is possible to agree on all aspects until November 29, although we will do everything we can," Lavrov stressed. "There still is a possibility that it would be another pointless meeting. Nevertheless if our counterparts are ready to take the chance, we will go to Minsk on November 29."

The Russian top diplomat pointed out that the Normandy Quartet leaders had determined the guidelines for drawing up a road map for Donbass. The parties particularly need to agree on the ways to put into effect the law on the special status of Donbass, ensure that the parties to the conflict take simultaneous steps in the security sphere while the Ukrainian authorities implement political reforms in accordance with the Minsk agreements.

"Russia’s representatives have been sticking to these principles but attempts have been made to step back and advance unilateral approaches," Lavrov added.

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