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Russia ready for Normandy Four summit under several conditions, says Kremlin

The Kremlin aide listed three conditions to be implemented by Kiev ahead of the summit due in Paris
Meeting of the Normandy Four leaders, Paris, October 2, 2015 Mikhail Palinchak /Press Office of the President of Ukraine/TASS
Meeting of the Normandy Four leaders, Paris, October 2, 2015
© Mikhail Palinchak /Press Office of the President of Ukraine/TASS

MOSCOW, September 13. /TASS/. Russia is ready to take part in the Normandy Four summit in Paris, however, several conditions need to be fulfilled, namely on the part of Kiev, Kremlin Aide Yuri Ushakov told reporters on Friday.

He stated that on the outcomes of the September 7 prisoner swap between Russia and Ukraine, "everybody understands that a Normandy Four summit is necessary so that we can discuss possible further steps on activating crisis regulation in eastern Ukraine with the new Ukrainian leader."

"We think that this meeting needs to be held, and we agree with the French president that it can be held in Paris, that is, we are ready to go to Paris, but several issues need to be resolved first," Ushakov said.

Ushakov listed three basic conditions "that can ensure the success of the upcoming summit, if they are adhered to." The Kremlin aide stated that the issue of the disengagement of forces in three Donbass settlements must be sorted out, which, according to him, the leaders’ aides and the Contact Group have been discussing for a long time.

"We also find it important to fix the so-called Steinmeier Formula in writing within the framework of the Contact Group in the run-up to the summit. This formula envisages that the law on the special status of Donbass will be enforced temporarily on election day and permanently on the outcomes of the election following the publication of the final report by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. And our third important condition is the preliminary agreement on the outcomes of the summit, that is, agreement on the results that will be presented to the public and that will serve as the framework for further efforts on crisis regulation," he specified.

The Kremlin aide noted that "taking into account all these factors, we can agree on the specific date of the summit." "We know that previous meetings, summits in Paris and Berlin ended in certain agreements that were not always implemented by the Ukrainian side. Now we want an iron-clad agreement that would facilitate real measures on crisis regulation," Ushakov concluded.

The senior official specified, though, that the summit would possibly be convened in October and that its precise date might be determined after a Contact Group meeting on September 18.

We expect that a meeting of the Contact Group will take place on September 18, which can bring about certain encouraging shifts that would allow us to start working on establishing a specific date for the summit," he said pointing out that "advisers are very active, a few days ago a regular telephone conversation took place, and before that there was a meeting in the beginning of September."

According to the Kremlin representative, apart from the Contact Group agreements "it is necessary to draft a text that the leaders could adopt following the summit, in other words the contents of the summit should be documented on paper." "Foreign Ministries were given instructions to engage more actively in the work that is being done now by the leaders’ advisers and aides," he added.

"Active preparations are being made and when the results that can be approved by the leaders are visible, we will agree on a date," Ushakov said. "A number of dates was named, which are yet to be agreed. We will see how work goes, October cannot be ruled out. If the work is successful, why shouldn’t we hold the summit in October, but the final date has not been set yet, at least on our part."

Ushakov reiterated that the summit would be held in the French capital. "We are grateful for Mr. Macron’s invitation and will of course travel to Paris," he said.

The presidential aide also expressed hope that the Ankara trilateral summit on Syria on September 16 would pave the way for an Istanbul format meeting attended by Russia, Germany, Turkey and France. "We can expect the trilateral meeting to pave the way for another meeting, in the Istanbul format, involving [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel and [French President Emmanuel] Macron. But it is too early to speak about it," he noted.

The trilateral summit on Syria will be held in Ankara on September 16. Last time the Turkish capital welcomed the meeting in the Presidential Complex in the Bestepe District. However, the president’s office announced that this time the summit of the leaders would take place in the historical Cankaya Mansion, which used to serve as the residence for the Turkish prime minister, as well as the president until 2014.

The first Russia-Turkey-Iran summit on Syria took place in Sochi in November 2017. Following the meeting, the heads of state announced that the creation of four de-escalation zones in Syria should not undermine its territorial integrity and violate its sovereignty. Back then they also called on the Syrian government and the opposition forces to attend the Congress of the Syrian National Dialogue. Later, the leaders convened on Syria in Ankara (April 2018), Tehran (September 2018) and Sochi (February 2019).