Foreign Ministers of Russia and Germany Sergei Lavrov and Frank-Walter Steinmeier discussed in a telephone conversation the work in the Normandy format on implementation of the Minsk agreements, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.
The conversation was organized at the request from the German side.
“Special attention was paid to the work in the Normandy format on implementation of the Minsk agreements on ways to overcome the Ukrainian crisis,” the ministry said.
The foreign ministers also discussed progress of the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement following the visit of OSCE Chairman Steinmeier to Yerevan and Baku. Lavrov and Steinmeier also discussed certain aspects of the bilateral Russian-German agenda.
European mass media reported earlier that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande want to meet in Minsk with their Russian and Ukrainian counterparts, Vladimir Putin and Pyotr Poroshenko, to give a fresh impetus to the implementation of the Minsk agreements. The Germany government, according to the mass media, wants such a meeting to be held before a NATO summit in Warsaw due on July 8-9 to ease tensions in the West’s relations with Russia.
“Conditions [for holding such summit] could emerge only in case the Ukrainian side demonstrates readiness to take the steps that are clearly outlines in the Minsk agreements,” Russian president’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Monday. “So far, regrettably, we see no such readiness, so, a summit meeting is hardly ever possible as long as there are now visible perspectives of reaching any result.”
“Naturally, all the Normandy Four countries would like to hold such a fruitful meeting,” he added.
Neither the German foreign ministry nor the press service of the German government has commented on these reports.
The Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine comprising senior representatives from Russia, Ukraine and the European security watchdog OSCE on February 12, 2015, signed a 13-point Package of Measures to fulfil the September 2014 Minsk agreements. The package was agreed with the leaders of the Normandy Four, namely Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine.
The Package of Measures, known as Minsk-2, envisaged a ceasefire between Ukrainian government forces and people’s militias in the self-proclaimed republics in Donetsk and Lugansk starting from February 15 and subsequent withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of engagement. The deal also laid out a roadmap for a lasting settlement in Ukraine, including local elections and constitutional reform to give more autonomy to the war-torn eastern regions.