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Lavrov, Steinmeier favor soonest convocation of Contact Group for Ukraine

July 04, 2014, 18:06 UTC+3 MOSCOW
“The Contact Group meeting is the key element for ensuring further progress,” German FM says
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German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

© EPA/PAWEL SUPERNAK

MOSCOW, July 04. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier have called for convening the Contact Group for Ukraine as soon as possible.

During a telephone talk on Friday, the ministers continued discussions on the resolution of the conflict in Ukraine.

Lavrov and Steinmeier agreed that the Contact Group for Ukraine should meet as soon as possible in order to start talks on the settlement of the conflict.

Earlier, Steinmeier called for implementing the agreements on the truce in Ukraine.

“One cannot waste time,” he said.

“The Contact Group meeting is the key element for ensuring further progress,” he said.

“Talks will fail without the parties’ readiness for them. Kiev should express readiness and Moscow should use its influence (upon militia),” Steinmeier said.

On July 2, the Russian, German, French and Ukrainian foreign ministers agreed a declaration on the resolution of the conflict in Ukraine's southeast. The declaration calls for establishing lasting truce in Ukraine and convening the Contact Group for Ukraine as soon as possible.

After the quadripartite talks Steinmeier said, “I understood that all participants realised what responsibility we all carry to prevent of a greater danger in Ukraine.”

“I think we will be able to use joint efforts to move aside from the escalation of the conflict that has taken place in the past days,” he said.

In the telephone talk with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande on June 26, Russian President Vladimir Putin said it was important to fulfil the statement’s provision on the need for a long-term ceasefire contained in the statement and on holding a next meeting of Contact Group on Ukraine no later than on July 5.

Since mid-April, Kiev has been conducting a military operation against federalization supporters and militias in Ukraine’s war-torn Southeast, which involves armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation and has resulted in hundreds of deaths, destruction of buildings and forced tens of thousands to flee Ukraine to Russia.

Fierce military attacks of the pro-Kiev forces on the country’s southeastern regions resumed after President Petro Poroshenko, who had been elected in late May and taken office on June 7, decided to end the 10-day ceasefire in the Southeast on Monday. When the truce was in place, there were reports that it was repeatedly violated by Kiev.

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