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Berlin to host “Normandy format” meeting for Ukraine at political directors level

January 05, 2015, 3:08 UTC+3 BERLIN

Russian diplomats are hoping to discuss preparations for future contacts at various levels and progress in the implementation of the Minsk Accords

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© ITAR-TASS/EPA/Wolfgang Kumm

BERLIN, January 5. /TASS/. A “Normandy format” meeting of political directors from the foreign ministries of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France will gather in the German capital on Monday to discuss Ukrainian settlement. The director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s second department (for the CIS countries), Viktor Sorokin, will represent Russia.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin told TASS in an interview on Sunday Russian diplomats were hoping to discuss preparations for future contacts at various levels and progress in the implementation of the Minsk Accords.

“It is going to be a purely practical meeting, but we do hope that our constructive intentions will meet with a constructive attitude,” Karasin said. “The main thing is to discuss preparations for future meetings and, of course, the implementation of the Minsk Accords.”

Ukraine has confirmed participation in the Monday talks.

“Our political director Alexey Makeyev has flown to Berlin,” Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Yevgeny Perebeinos said on the 112 Ukraine television news channel on Sunday, adding that preparations for a higher level meeting would be on the agenda.

“Both the Minsk Protocol and the implementation of the Minsk Accords will be reviewed,” he said.

The German Foreign Ministry has offered no commentary in reply to a TASS question about the agenda of the political directors’ meeting. It remains unclear who will be representing Germany. The French Foreign Ministry keeps quiet about its representative, too.

A diplomatic source in Berlin told TASS earlier that a meeting of foreign ministers of Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine might take place soon. The German weekly Die Welt am Sonntag quotes sources at the German Foreign Ministry as saying the meeting is due after January 7.

In an interview to the weekly German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that “the humanitarian obligation to help people in Eastern Ukraine through the winter” might promote a settlement of the crisis. “We would like to use this opportunity,” he said. “What we really need now is more steps to ensure truce, which must be maintained in reality,” Steinmeier said, adding that all parties should rely on the Minsk Accords.

At the end of December 2014 Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told a news conference that Normandy format negotiations at the summit level would be held in Astana on January 15. A Russian diplomatic source has told TASS that “January 15 is a date that has been mentioned as a possible one for a future Normandy format meeting.”.

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