BERLIN, January 8. /TASS/. German Chancellor Angela Merkel believes that sanctions may be lifted from Russia only when the causes that had led to their introduction have been eliminated.
“There were certain reasons why the sanctions were imposed on Russia. They may be cancelled only if those causes have been removed,” Merkel told a joint news conference with visiting Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk on Thursday.
In this context Merkel mentioned “progress on the Crimean issue” without specifying, though, what she had in mind. “In this regard I have very little hope at the moment,” Merkel said.
“As for the other sanctions, they were imposed over intervention in the east of Ukraine,” she claimed. “The Minsk Accords are a tool that enables us to take the reverse action. Therefore I believe that we must see first that all of their items have been observed before one can say that the sanctions can be cancelled,” Merkel said.
It remains to be seen whether the ‘Normandy quartet’ will hold a summit level meeting in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana on January 15, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.
“Whether the meeting will take place will become clear after negotiations in a few days’ time,” she said, adding that the foreign ministers of Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France were currently working on the issue.
Earlier on Thursday, the foreign ministers of Russia and Germany, Sergey Lavrov and Frank-Walter Steinmeier, came out for building up the positive trend in the Ukrainian settlement following the January 5 meeting of the Normandy format political directors.
They agreed to go ahead with contacts over Ukraine in the bilateral and Normandy formats at various levels.
At the end of last December Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko said he hoped to meet with the leaders of Russia, Germany and France in Astana on January 15.
A Russian diplomatic source earlier told TASS that January 15 was the date mentioned as a possible one for a future meeting in the Normandy format.” There have been no official statements from the Kremlin in that connection so far.
The four-nation format of negotiations owes its name to the first meeting held in Normandy on June 6, 2014.