10:20 Oct. 13, 2016
Merkel, Hollande and Putin held a phone conference on the prospect of resuming Ukraine peace talks. Germany said more work was needed to establish the prerequisites for such a summit
Germany played down prospects for an imminent summit with France and Russia on the conflict in Ukraine, after the countries' leaders talked for nearly an hour on the telephone on Wednesday.
The French presidency had said that they expected a multilateral summit to be held "very soon," after the leaders discussed the conditions for renewed peace talks. However, Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said that "more work is still necessary to establish the prerequisites" of such a summit.
"The participants agreed that progress on both security issues and political issues would be necessary," Seibert said.
Moscow had initially indicated on Tuesday that such a meeting could take place in Berlin on October 19. Germany appears to have distanced itself from this suggestion and reports suggest that no date was agreed during the discussion.
Still, all parties agreed that a meeting on Ukraine would need to be "constructive and useful" to ensure a cease-fire agreement and free elections, according to the French President Francois Hollande's office.
Hollande and Merkel are also scheduled to hold talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Thursday, while diplomats from all sides will meet in Minsk on Thursday and Friday, according to the French presidency.
Wednesday's three-way discussion showed that diplomatic communication channels between Europe and Russia remain open in light of heightened tensions over the conflict in Syria.