BERLIN, October 1. /TASS/. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has commended the agreements reached at the recent meeting of the Contact Group on settlement in eastern Ukraine, particularly the approval of the so-called Steinmeier formula.
"I am glad that the constructive atmosphere at the session of the Contact Group in Minsk has led to long-awaited progress," Maas said in a statement on Tuesday. "This makes way for the Normandy Four summit and further steps in the implementation of the Minsk Agreements."
During a meeting on Tuesday, all members of the Contact Group for settlement in eastern Ukraine signed the Steinmeier formula, Russian envoy to the group Boris Gryzlov said after the session.
In late 2015, then-German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier put forward a plan that later became known as the "Steinmeier formula." The plan stipulates that a special status should be granted to Donbass in accordance with the Minsk Agreements. In particular, the document envisages that Ukraine’s special law on local self-governance will take effect in certain areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions on a temporary basis on the day of local elections, becoming permanent after the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) issues a report on the vote’s results. The idea was endorsed at the Normandy Four meeting in Paris on October 2, 2015, and has been known as the Steinmeier formula since.
However, in the wake of the formula’s endorsement, Kiev began to put forward additional conditions for its implementation. Only after Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky assumed office, the Ukrainian government agreed to continue the discussion of the formula. In September, aides to the Normandy Four leaders agreed that the text of the Steinmeier formula must be approved by all members of the Contact Group as a first step towards stage-by-stage implementation of other points of the Minsk Agreements and as part of the preparations for the new meeting between leaders of Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France.