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German FM says settlement process in Ukraine lags behind schedule

November 06, 2015, 16:59 UTC+3
"The situation has considerably improved, this is good, but it is not enough," Frank-Walter Steinmeier says
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German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier

© EPA/SERGEY DOLZHENKO

BERLIN, November 6. /TASS/. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has said the situation in Ukraine’s east has improved but the settlement process lags behind the schedule.

"We can be glad that the ceasefire regime is observed to a certain extent from September 1," Steinmeier said ahead of the "Normandy Quartet" (Russia, Ukraine, Germany, France) ministerial meeting in Berlin.

"The situation [in Ukraine’s east] has considerably improved. This is good, but it is not enough. We are lagging behind the schedule," the foreign minister noted.

There are "difficulties concerning the political process, in particular preparations for elections," he added. Steinmeier also stressed it is important to solve issues of providing humanitarian assistance to those regions in Ukraine’s east that suffered the most.

"I hope we will be able to continue constructive talks like in Paris," he concluded.

The last meeting of the "Normandy Quartet" foreign ministers took place in Berlin on September 12 in the framework of preparing to the summit held in Paris on October 2.

Normandy format

The "Normandy format" brings together Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. The format was first established in June 2014, when the four leaders held talks on the Ukrainian crisis during D-Day celebrations in Normandy.

On February 12, the sides signed the Minsk agreements on the settlement of the situation in Ukraine after negotiations in Minsk.

The Minsk accords envisage ceasefire, weaponry withdrawal, prisoner exchange, local elections in Donbas, constitutional reform in Ukraine and establishing working sub-groups on security, political, economy and humanitarian components of the Minsk accords.

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