The possibility of a Normandy Format meeting at the level of foreign ministers and presidents is discussed by the parties, but certain progress is needed for this, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told a news conference on Thursday after meeting with Ukrainian counterpart Pavel Klimkin.
“We are intensively discussing and checking when it will make good sense to convene a Normandy Format meeting not at a working level, but at the level of ministers, leaders,” he said. “But it will be worth-while only after enough substance appears to meet at this level,” the foreign minister said.
The “Normandy format” (Normandy Four) negotiations for the settlement of the Donbass crisis have been underway 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 on the beaches of Normandy in 1944) discussed the settlement of the conflict in southeast Ukraine for the first time. Several “Normandy Four” meetings have taken place at the summit and ministerial levels since then.
The Minsk agreements reached on February 12, 2015 by the Normandy Four leaders envisaged ceasefire and 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. The Ukrainian forces and militias of the self-proclaimed republics have repeatedly accused each other of violating ceasefire and other points of the Minsk agreements.