Merkel: Possible meeting on Ukraine in Kazakhstan

The German chancellor made clear that the entire Minsk agreement needs to be fulfilled before European Union sanctions against Russia can be lifted.

Michael Sohn/AP
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, and the Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk, left, address the media during a joint press conference as part of a meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015.

Major powers trying to resolve the conflict in Ukraine are working to set up a possible meeting in Kazakhstan, but it remains unclear whether it will happen and it won't resolve the crisis overnight if it does, Germany's leader said Thursday.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said in late December that he planned to meet Jan. 15 in Astana, the Kazakh capital, with Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Russian and French presidents. However, German and other officials haven't confirmed the plan.

The four countries' foreign ministers are working on a "possible meeting in Astana" but more talks are needed over the coming days before it is clear whether it can go ahead, Merkel said after meeting Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

Merkel, who will receive Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev on Friday, didn't specify a date for the meeting. Diplomatic efforts focus on trying to implement in full a much-violated peace deal that was drawn up in Minsk in September — and Merkel insisted that every point of that agreement must be fulfilled.

"A meeting in Astana won't lead to all points being fulfilled the next day," she said. "What we can do is try to make visible progress and at the same time have a reliable road map for other points. What is difficult is that we already often had road maps that weren't kept to."

Merkel made clear that the entire Minsk agreement needs to be fulfilled before European Union sanctions against Russia can be lifted.

Yatsenyuk said the Minsk deal is still viable and the most urgent priority is to seal the Russia-Ukraine border. He called for continued Western unity in pressing Russia on the deal, saying that Moscow is "desperately trying" to split EU countries, "but they're going to fail."

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Thursday that there are "some limited positive signs on the Russian side" and that there also now appears to be a constructive and "different Russian attitude" on diplomatic issues other than Ukraine.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to