The expert-level consultations on Ukraine continue and the German side cannot announce a date for the summit in the Normandy format (Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine), German government spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters in Berlin on Monday.
“Nothing has changed, the chancellor Angela Merkel is ready for such a meeting if it gives the opportunity for progress and if we can make progress in the implementation of the Minsk agreements in the interests of the people in eastern Ukraine,” Seibert said.
“I cannot announce a date today,” he said, adding that “this will be done when the moment is right.” Seibert also stressed that “if such meeting is held, one should not expect that all the problems will be solved there.”
“If we look at the Minsk agreements, everything – from ceasefire which indeed does not exist to the deadlocked political process – is in an unsatisfactory condition,” he said. “Minsk is the only thing that we have, the only thing on which everyone can rely and what directs everyone to the path of peaceful settlement.”
“The Normandy format over the past years justified itself as a format under which we can at least make progress gradually,” he stressed.
The Minsk agreements lay the foundation for a peaceful settlement in Donbass. The deal envisages not only a ceasefire and a withdrawal of weapons, amnesty and restoration of economic ties, but also deep constitutional reforms in Ukraine to decentralize power, granting special status to certain areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions in the country’s east.
However, all this just remains a plan. The Ukrainian side has refused to implement the point on amnesty and continues to economically blockade Donbass.
None of the items in the political settlement have been carried out as of yet – there has been no constructional reform, the law on a special status to the region has not been enacted and the law on elections in Donbass has not been passed. Instead, citing the need to ensure security, Ukraine insists on restoration of its control over a section of the border with Russia, although under the Minsk agreements this should happen only after the elections.