The News Minute | February 9, 2015 | 7:25 am IST
A summit meeting to discuss ways of solving the Ukraine crisis will be held in the Belarusian capital of Minsk on Wednesday, between the leaders of Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine, according to reports on Sunday.
The meeting would be attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Xinhua reported, citing German government spokesman Steffen Seibert.
Putin said that he would meet the leaders of Germany, France and Ukraine in Minsk, provided certain positions were agreed upon by then, Xinhua reported, citing the Interfax news agency.
"I have just finished conversations with leaders of Germany, France and Ukraine in the so-called Normandy Format," Putin said during a meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Sunday.
According to the TASS news agency, the Normandy Format refers to talks between the leaders of Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine.
The format was called "Normandya¿ after the first summit in June 2014, in France during the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the landing of the Allied forces in Normandy during the Second World War, which led to France's liberation from Nazi control.
A Russian diplomatic source told Interfax that deputy foreign ministers of the four parties would meet in Berlin Monday to prepare for the Minsk summit.
Representatives of the trilateral contact group on the Ukraine crisis, comprising the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Russia and Ukraine, as well as representatives of the separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine would also take part in the summit, the German government spokesman said.
Merkel, Hollande, Putin and Poroshenko held a detailed telephonic conference Sunday and discussed a package of measures as part of the efforts for a comprehensive settlement of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, Seibert said, adding that "this work will continue tomorrow in Berlin".
Merkel and French President Francois Hollande visited Moscow Friday to discuss ways to end the fighting in eastern Ukraine.
The German Chancellor noted at the Munich Security Conference that it was uncertain whether the Friday talks would succeed, but stressed that it was definitely worth an attempt.
A spokesperson for the Russian government said that the tripartite talks between Merkel, Hollande and Putin was "constructive and substantial".
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Saturday that Russia saw grounds for optimism on the resolution of the Ukraine crisis, while stressing that military intervention should not be an option.
German Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, told a German television channel in Munich that a progress on resolving the Ukraine crisis could be seen "in the next two or three days".