Merkel Engages in Mediation Efforst Prior to Putin-Poroshenko Talks
German Chancellor Angela Merkel held separate meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko late on Thursday.
Merkel's initiative on the sidelines the 10th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit in Milan, hours before Putin and Poroshenko are expected to discuss the Ukraine crisis.
A spokesperson for the German government said both the Chancellor and Poroshenko had regretted the failure to fully implement the truce in Ukraine's east. The two reiterated their calls for strengthening the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)'s mission deployed along the Ukraine Russia-Border.
Later Germany and Russia's leaders raised the issues of September's Donbass agreement signed in Minsk and the gas dispute between Kiev and Moscow as well as supplies to Europe, Dmitry Peskov, Spokesman for Putin, told ITAR-TASS.
Their meeting unfolded until the early hours on Friday, starting 23:15 CET and lasting about 2.5 hours. The talks were delayed due to Putin's late arrival from Serbia's capital Belgrade.
Putin and Poroshenko are expected to negotiate with the leaders of Germany, France, the UK, Italy and EU officials on economic and energy issues.
There are also hopes the two could hold a personal meeting to seek ways to wind down tensions.
German weekly Der Spiegel wrote that Merkel had sought to assess the possibility of a peaceful solution to the Ukraine-Russia deadlock.
Heads of state and government from 50 countries are attending the ASEM 10 summit at which economic development, trade, agriculture, education, infrastructure and security top the agenda.
Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev is also present at the forum.
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