Germany hopes for Ukraine crisis talks next week

Direct talks between Ukraine and Russia likely to take place next week according to Germany's Foreign Minister

Direct talks between Ukraine and Russia likely to take place next week according to Germany's Foreign Minister

BERLIN – Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has expressed hope that talks between Russia and Ukraine may start as early as next week within the framework of an international contact group.

Germany had proposed an international contact group last month in an attempt to defuse tensions between Ukraine and Russia and to facilitate talks for a political solution to the crisis.

 “We should now succeed in realizing what we have discussed for weeks, that is bringing Russia and Ukraine together for direct talks,” Steinmeier said Wednesday at the Federal Parliament. “I hope that the International Contact Group will possibly manage a first preparatory meeting next week...This is necessary, and I hope we will get there.” 

Western diplomatic sources told an Anadolu Agency correspondent that the initial discussions on forming an international contact group included the participation of around a dozen countries, including Germany, Turkey and Canada. However, following negotiations with Russia the scope of the talks has been narrowed and representatives from the U.S., EU, Russia and Ukraine are now only likely to be present.

It is expected that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsia and the EU’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, will meet next week at a time and date yet to be specified.

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