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Leaders of NATO Quint call on Russia to resume negotiations in Normandy format.

The leaders of the U.S., Germany, France, Italy, the UK have urged Russia to de-escalate tensions with Ukraine and resume talks between Russia and Ukraine in the Normandy format, the last of which took place in December 2019.

According to the statement published by the Élysée Palace, on 6 December French President Emmanuel Macron met with the heads of state and government in the so-called Quint format, a decision-making group consisting of the US and Western Europe’s Big Four – France, Germany, Italy, and the UK.

The meeting was remote, and the White House specified that Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel , Italian PM Mario Draghi , UK PM Boris Johnson , and US President Biden held a call.

The five leaders, according to the French presidency’s statement, shared their “analysis of the tensions existing between Russia and Ukraine, expressed their determination that the latter’s sovereignty must be respected,” and expressed their commitment to act towards maintaining peace and security in Europe. The White House added that the interlocutors underscored their support not only for Ukraine’s sovereignty but also for its territorial integrity.

The leaders discussed their shared concern about the Russian military build-up on Ukraine’s borders and “Russia’s increasingly harsh rhetoric,” the White House said.

The five called on Russia to de-escalate the tensions with Ukraine and agreed that diplomacy,” especially through the Normandy Format,” is

“…the only way forward to resolve the conflict in Donbas through the implementation of the Minsk Agreements,” the White House’s statement reads.

The Normandy Format talks also known as the Normandy Four (N4) is a negotiation group involving the leaders or top diplomats of four countries, Ukraine, Russia, Germany, and France which aims to resolve the war in the east of Ukraine. The group had six meetings in 2014-2019. Since the last meeting in December 2019, the Kremlin keeps on sabotaging the organization of any new Normandy Four talks.

The leaders of France, Germany, Ukraine, and Russia in Paris atr a meeting in the Normandy format on 9 December 2019. Photo: president.gov.ua

The statement by the French President’s press service mentions that the five leaders urged Russia to return to the N4 negotiations,

“They (NATO Quint leaders, – Ed.) all reiterated the need for Russia to re-engage in negotiations with Ukraine, within the framework of the so-called ‘Normandy’ group under the aegis of France and Germany,” the statement by French President’s press service reads.

It is noteworthy to mention that the Russian state-run press agency TASS in their report on the French statement slightly distorted the French original in their translation into English, omitting the direct call on Russia.

The Élysée Palace’s “la nécessité que la Russie se réengage dans les négociations avec l’Ukraine” (‘the need for Russia to re-engage in negotiations with Ukraine’) in the direct quote became “the need to resume negotiations between Russia and Ukraine” in the TASS version (archived).

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