MOSCOW, November 18. /TASS/. Germany and France must influence Ukraine to take additional steps to implement the Minsk Agreements, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday during the joint press conference with his Belarusian colleague Vladimir Makei.
"Another thing, let’s call it our condition, is that the participants of the new summit should be able to take additional steps to implement the Minsk Agreements fully along with the implementation of the existing agreements. Our French and German colleagues assure us that this reflects their approach, and we expect that they will use their relations with Kiev to make them [Ukraine] realize that full implementation of the Minsk Package of Measures is indisputable," the Russian top diplomat said.
Lavrov stressed that such signals from Paris and Berlin are especially important in the context of "rather contradictory" statements made by Ukrainian officials, for example, on Ukraine’s unwillingness to declare amnesty under the Minsk Agreements or hold direct dialogue with Donetsk and Lugansk. "There is a number of other statements that require a reaction from other participants of the Normandy format with the aim to preserve the basics stipulated by the Normandy format, which direct the activity of the Contact Group with the participation of Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk and with the support of Russia and the OSCE," he added.
"We expect that as hosts of the Normandy format, our French colleagues will apply every effort to avoid ambiguity in order for this summit to confirm that the implementation of the Minsk Package of Measures is indisputable and compulsory," the Russian top diplomat concluded.
On November 15, the office of French President Emmanuel Macron informed that the Normandy Four summit would take place on December 9, 2019 in Paris.
The Normandy Four talks on Ukraine have existed since June 2014, when the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany, who gathered in Normandy for the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of D-Day (the landing of allied troops in 1944) discussed the settlement of the conflict in southeastern Ukraine for the first time. Several top-level and foreign minister-level phone calls and meetings have been held since then. The latest Normandy Four meeting took place on October 19-20, 2016 in Berlin.