After having visited Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, Foreign Minister Gabriel on Thursday (2 March) travelled on to Kyiv, where he met with officials to discuss the situation in eastern Ukraine and the implementation of the Minsk agreements.
Marking 25 years of diplomatic relations
The visit took place at a special time, because Germany and Ukraine are marking 25 years of diplomatic relations. Gabriel has already visited Ukraine numerous times in his functions as Minister for the Environment and later for Economic Affairs. As Economic Affairs Minister, he visited Ukraine in 2014 to discuss economic aid for the country.
This trip focused on the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine. Immediately following his arrival in Kyiv, Gabriel went to the Foreign Ministry, where he met with his counterpart Pavlo Klimkin. The two Ministers’ most recent meetings had been on the fringes of the Munich Security Conference and in the Normandy format. They had used these opportunities to discuss implementation of the Minsk agreements.
Talks on resolving the conflict, and on economic cooperation
Today, as well, talks were dominated by the situation in eastern Ukraine and possible steps towards resolving the conflict, Gabriel said after the meeting. However, bilateral cooperation beyond the issue of eastern Ukraine was also discussed. Germany wishes to support Ukraine’s efforts to develop its economy, Gabriel emphasised, and stands by what it has pledged. The discussion with President Poroshenko that followed also centred on the situation in eastern Ukraine.
Visit to the OSCE mission
Afterwards, Gabriel visited the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission and paid tribute to its important work. The organisation is helping to contain the conflict in the affected area, and it is working to reduce tensions between the parties to the conflict. After negotiating a ceasefire following heavy fighting around Avdiivka in January, the members of the mission have, among other things, helped important repair important power and water supply lines, as well as alleviate suffering during the cold winter months.
Meeting with civil society representatives
On Friday morning, Gabriel met with representatives of civil society. This was followed by talks with leaders of the parliamentary groups of the Verkhovna Rada. He arrived back in Berlin in the afternoon.