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Normandy Four meeting may be held after Russian presidential election — diplomat

A Normandy Four meeting on the Donbass settlement is likely to be held after the upcoming presidential polls in Russia, a diplomat says

MOSCOW, March 12. /TASS/. A Normandy Four-format (France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia) meeting on the settlement of the situation in Donbass is likely to be held after the upcoming presidential polls in Russia, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin told TASS on Tuesday.

"There is next to no chance that such a meeting could be organized before the presidential elections," he said.

According to the Russian senior diplomat, practical aspects of a meeting in the Normandy Four format are outside the current agenda. "Contacts via diplomatic channels continue but no agreement has been reach as of yet about a concrete date for such a meeting," he added.

Presidential elections in Russia will be held next Sunday, March 18.

The first meeting in the so-called Normandy Four format was held in France, on June 6, 2014, during celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the landing of allied troops in Normandy, when the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany held talks to find a solution to the conflict in southeast Ukraine.

In February 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the then French President Francois Hollande and Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko held marathon 17-hour-long talks in Minsk, approving the Package of Measures for the implementation of the Minsk agreements, the basis for peace in Donbass. Since then, numerous phone talks, summits and ministerial meetings have been held. The latest meeting of the Normandy Four top diplomats took place in Munich in February 2017.