BERLIN, March 6. /TASS/. A meeting of representatives of foreign ministries of the "Normandy Quartet" countries (Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine) has started in Berlin. The meeting is held in the German Foreign Ministry behind closed doors. Russia is represented by Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin.
Among participants in the meeting are also the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) special envoy to Ukraine Heidi Tagliavini and Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) Ertugrul Apakan.
OSCE representatives will inform the "Normandy Quartet" on the progress in the implementation of the Minsk agreements from February 12, including on weaponry withdrawal by the Ukrainian forces and self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR).
The agenda for the talks was set on March 2 during a telephone conversation between Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Karasin said earlier.
The "Normandy Quartet" is not fully satisfied with the progress in the implementation of the Minsk agreements, he added. "Unfortunately, we cannot yet say that the sides are satisfied with how everything [the Minsk agreements] is implemented," the deputy foreign minister said. "There are certain positive developments, but the main thing now is to concentrate on completing heavy weaponry withdrawal in accordance with the parameters that were agreed and strictly defined by the package of measures on implementing the Minsk agreements," he noted. Among other issues on the meeting’s agenda are social and economic conditions in the conflict zone.
The meeting in Berlin "will be held in the framework of agreements on the so-called control mechanism in the ‘Normandy format’," a diplomatic source told TASS. "The leaders of the four countries agreed in Minsk that such meetings will be held at the level of senior officials from foreign ministries in order to send certain political signals," the source added.
On February 12, negotiations in the "Normandy format" were held in the Belarusian capital Minsk, bringing together Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. The talks lasted for around 14 hours.
Simultaneously, a meeting of the Contact Group on Ukrainian settlement was held in Minsk, bringing together former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma and Kiev’s special representative for humanitarian issues Viktor Medvedchuk, both representing the Ukrainian side, alongside representatives of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR), Denis Pushilin and Vladislav Deinego, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) special envoy to Ukraine, Heidi Tagliavini, and Russia’s ambassador to Ukraine, Mikhail Zurabov, who acts as a mediator.
As a result, a package of measures on implementing the Minsk agreements was adopted, including on ceasefire in separate areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions starting from February 15, heavy weaponry withdrawal and long-term political settlement of the Ukrainian crisis.