European diplomacy efforts: EU trying to relaunch Ukraine peace process - EUobserver

10:56 Sep. 5, 2016

EU trying to relaunch Ukraine peace process - EUobserver

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, applaud during the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of D-Day in western France, June 6, 2014 (AP photo)

Part of the problem is that the parties in the Minsk talks do not have the same interpretation of the ceasefire, some EU diplomats say

The EU is seeking ways to secure a continued ceasefire and organisation of local elections in eastern Ukraine as well as to relaunch talks between Ukraine and Russia on a peace agreement.

Foreign ministers meeting in Bratislava on 2 September restated that the Minsk ceasefire pact remained the "key reference and key way of solving the conflict," EU diplomacy chief Federica Mogherini said.

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A meeting of the so-called Normandy Format, the group of the four leaders set up to follow how the Minsk accord is implemented, was planned in the margins of the G20 summit in China. But it was cancelled after increased fighting in Eastern Ukraine during the summer and a Russian military build-up near the Ukrainian border.

"For now we feel reluctance on the Russian side about the Normandy format," French minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said on Friday.

Merkel and Hollande will meet Putin at the G20 anyway to try to bring him back to the negotiation table. And Ayrault and his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier were looking for a date to go to Kyiv.

The French minister said that France and Germany were going to take initiatives "to get out of this situation which is not good, which is not acceptable".

The lack of progress in the peace process led to some discussion about the role of the Berlin-Paris duo "Not everyone agrees with Germany and France," an EU source told EUobserver.

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