The Russia-France-Germany-Ukraine framework known as the Normandy format is needed to stay in place to settle the conflict in eastern Ukraine, German Foreign Office spokeswoman Sawsan Chebli said Friday.

 

“Despite the difficult situation in which we find ourselves, in spite of setbacks we periodically experience, it is necessary to do everything to stay in the Normandy format for the realization of Minsk [ceasefire agreements],” Chelbi said at a briefing.

 

She reiterated Berlin’s view, expressed by Chancellor Angela Merkel in the latest interview with the RND news group, that it remains dissatisfied with the implementation of the Minsk accords signed early last year.

 

The Minsk deal stipulates a full ceasefire, weaponry withdrawal from the line of contact in eastern Ukraine, an all-for-all prisoner exchange and constitutional reforms, which would give a special status to the self-proclaimed Donetsk and LuGansk People’s Republics established by Donbass residents after a coup-imposed government came to power in Kiev.

 

French President Francois Hollande’s office affirmed this week the need for continued discussions within the quadrilateral format for the peaceful settlement of the conflict.