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Germany welcomes outcome of four-party expert-level talks on Ukraine — source

August 20, 2015, 21:36 UTC+3 BERLIN
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BERLIN, August 20. /TASS/. Germany's Foreign Ministry said on Thursday it welcomed the outcome of talks in Berlin involving experts from Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France.

"We welcome the outcome of today’s meeting," a foreign ministry source told TASS.

When asked about the possibility of holding another such meeting in the near future, the source said: "I can't say anything about it so far."

At the consultations in the German capital, Russia was represented by the country’s deputy ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Andrey Rudenko, and the Russian Foreign Ministry’s acting director of the legal department, Alexey Dronov.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said earlier the meeting had been initiated by Germany’s top diplomat Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Leaders of Germany, France and Ukraine are expected to meet in Berlin on August 24 to discuss developments in eastern Ukraine's troubled Donbass region. German Chancellor Angela Merkel will at first receive French President Francois Hollande, while Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko will join them later.

In view of the upcoming meeting, Lavrov said he hoped Hollande and Merkel would use their influence on Poroshenko to convince Kiev to comply with ceasefire agreements signed in Minsk, Belarus, in February.

On February 12, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukraine’s Poroshenko, France’s Hollande and Germany’s Merkel held marathon talks in Minsk, seeking to reach a political settlement over east Ukraine's future.

Belarus also gathered envoys of Moscow, Kiev, the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk and the OSCE.

The meetings yielded a package of measures to implement the Minsk agreements, including a ceasefire in certain areas of east Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions starting from February 15.

They also called for withdrawal of all heavy weapons from the front line, prisoner release and agreement for international observers to monitor the truce.

Based on September’s stillborn Minsk peace protocol, the deal laid out a road map for a lasting settlement in Ukraine, including local elections and constitutional reform to give the war-torn eastern regions more autonomy.

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