Germany Pressing Russia To Come To Peace Over Ukraine

AP Photo/Matthias Schrader

Germany’s foreign minister pressed for progress on a year-old peace plan for eastern Ukraine as he met Saturday with senior officials from Russia, Ukraine and France, saying he hopes that Moscow and Kiev realize that they don’t have forever to implement the deal

Germany’s Frank-Walter Steinmeier hosted Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov and Ukraine’s Pavlo Klimkin, along with the French Foreign Ministry’s political director Nicolas de Riviere.

Germany and France brokered the peace deal for eastern Ukraine in Minsk, Belarus a year ago and have been at the forefront of diplomatic efforts to try to implement it. Still, fighting hasn’t fully stopped and there has been little progress in bringing about a political settlement.

Steinmeier told the Munich Security Conference after the gathering that “not talking to each other in times of crisis can’t be the answer.”

In a written statement, he added that “we are still a fair way from implementing Minsk.” He said the ministers called for proposals before their next meeting — which German officials hope will happen by the beginning of March — on how to ensure the cease-fire is better respected and prepare for local elections in eastern areas held by pro-Russian rebels.

“I am counting on it being clear to all those in positions of responsibility in Kiev and Moscow that we no longer have forever to implement what was agreed in Minsk,” Steinmeier said. “We must not let up in our efforts to push the parties to the conflict to take further steps.”