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French foreign minister calls for revitalizing Normandy format work

July 22, 9:06 UTC+3 WASHINGTON
The French foreign minister stresses the sanctions against Russia would be lifted if Moscow shows progress
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French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault

©  EPA/JEREMY LEMPIN

WASHINGTON, July 22 /TASS/. French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has called for revitalizing the work of the "Normandy format" (Russia, France, Ukraine and Germany) designed to settle the Ukraine crisis.

"We keep repeating that at meetings held at the level of ministers of heads of state. Indeed, we need to revitalize the ‘Normandy format’ with its successes and setbacks," Ayrault said in his speech at the Washington-based Center of Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) on Thursday.

According to the minister, negotiations are rolling backward in a reverse direction.

"Who is responsible for this situation? Is it Russia? Ukrainians? I do not always understand that," Ayrault stressed.

He also said it was necessary to search for ways of ending the crisis. The French foreign minister said that the sanctions against Russia had not been an end in itself and that they would be lifted if Russia started showing progress.

"Today, we reached another final deadline (for the sanctions) and saw that no sufficient change had taken place for lifting them," Ayrault concluded.

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