MOSCOW, September 3. /TASS/. Aides of the Normandy Four leaders failed to agree on the summit’s date at their meeting in Berlin on Monday, but made a significant progress in their discussion, Director of the Russian Center for Current Politics Alexei Chesnakov told reporters on Tuesday.
"As far as I know, yesterday the aides of the Normandy Four leaders did not agree on a particular date of the summit," Chesnakov said. "They discussed the terms on which the summit may take place."
According to Chesnakov, the Russian delegation insisted that first the decisions made at the previous summits must be implemented. "There is the need to disengage forces in Petrovskoye and Zolotoye and agree on the Steinmeier formula," he noted. "Significant progress has been made in the discussion on these issues."
"In general, all sides welcome the possibility of resuming the Normandy group’s work," the expert said. "This work will continue both at the level of the leaders’ aides and the Contact Group," he noted.
The meeting in Germany’s capital of Berlin was held as part of preparations for the Normandy Four leaders’ summit and the Minsk peace deal’s implementation. Russia was represented there by Presidential Aide Vladislav Surkov. The talks were attended by new Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadim Pristaiko. According to the German Federal Foreign Office spokesperson, Maria Adebar, earlier he had represented Ukraine as the presidential adviser.
French President Emmanuel Macron told a news conference after the G7 summit in Biarritz earlier that he had plans to host a Normandy Four summit in September. The previous meeting of the Normandy Four leaders was held in Berlin in October 2016.
Minsk peace deal and Steinmeier formula
In February 2015, participants of the Contact Group for settling the crisis in Donbass signed the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements, known as Minsk-2, which had been earlier backed by the Normandy Four (Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine) leaders. The document envisages a ceasefire between Ukrainian government forces and people’s militias in the self-proclaimed Donbass republics and a subsequent withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of engagement. A constitutional reform and the decentralization of powers in Ukraine are one of key points of this document. The deal stipulates holding local elections in the areas with a special status, in coordination with the region’s representatives and in line with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s standards.
Former German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s formula to settle the Donbass conflict, which he put forward in late 2015, envisages implementing Ukrainian legislation on a special local self-government rule in some areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions on a temporary basis during local election in Donbass, and on a permanent basis after the publication of the OSCE’s report on its results.