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PARIS, February 6. /TASS/. The Ukrainian conflict peace settlement initiative, put forward on Thursday by French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel is an attempt to politically sidestep the United States that is more and more inclined to start weapons supplies to Kiev, says an article published on Friday by France’s influential magazine L’Obs.
"The initiative is historic," writes L’Obs commentator Vincent Jauvert. "The French president and German chancellor are going to Kiev and Moscow in order to attain — through diplomacy — a deescalation of the crisis. But why they undertake this trip now as the war already lasts for months?"
According to high-ranking diplomatic sources close to Hollande, "this "dramatization" which Hollande and Merkel have resorted to is aimed at sidestepping the Americans who may try in the coming hours to impose their decision to start the delivery of weapons to Ukraine on the West."
"Washington regained the initiative after a number of European diplomatic moves, specifically by France and Germany, within the so-called ‘Normandy format,’ failed," says the L’Obs article. "Paris and Berlin are unwilling to accept this American solution they consider to be very risky... Thus, France and Germany are trying to act similar to the American administration which they distrust."
The peace proposal of Merkel and Hollande most likely contains the same principal points that were "fixed in the Minsk agreements that were signed in September last year, but never fulfilled" — a ceasefire within 15 days, the withdrawal of heavy weapons, an exchange of prisoners and control over the border by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
"Armed with such a document, the French and German leaders could then argue that arms supplies are not needed," writes the French weekly.