The Political Directors from the Normandy format countries (Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France) met at the Federal Foreign Office today (26 July). They discussed issues concerning the implementation of the Minsk agreements, in particular the possible role of the United Nations in resolving the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
The delegation from the Russian Federation was led by Deputy Foreign Minister and State Secretary Grigoriy Karasin, while Ukraine, France and Germany were represented by their Foreign Ministries’ Political Directors, Oleksii Makeiev, Nicolas de Rivière and Antje Leendertse respectively.
Continuing the Foreign Ministers’ talks in June
The suggestion that a UN mission be deployed to support the conflict resolution comes from an initiative by Ukraine. Russia has expressed its openness to this idea. However, there is still no consensus on the exact mandate and the area where a possible UN mission would be deployed.
The German, French, Russian and Ukrainian Foreign Ministers discussed the proposal at a meeting in Berlin in June. Afterwards, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said it was no longer “a question of if, but rather of how” as regards such a mission and that all sides had fundamentally signalled their openness. Accordingly, the talks were now continued by the Political Directors of the four countries’ Foreign Ministries.
No solution to the conflict in Ukraine since 2014
The Normandy format (N4) dates back to an informal meeting of the Heads of State and Government of Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine on the 70th anniversary of the Allied landing in Normandy on 6 June 2014.
Since then, the format has accompanied the political endeavours to resolve the conflict in Ukraine, which began in 2014 and has already claimed over 10,000 lives.