Merkel urges Putin, Poroshenko to implement peace plan, still undecided on 4-way talks



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BERLIN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel told the leaders of Russia and Ukraine that she's not ready to take part in a four-way summit over the Ukraine conflict unless there's a chance of real progress.

Backing France's position on the issue, Merkel met with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and French President Francois Hollande in Paris after she spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the phone. Merkel and Poroshenko joined Hollande in the French capital to attend a unity rally against terrorism after attacks that left 17 dead.

French, Ukrainian and German government officials confirmed the 15-minute-long meeting, but didn't give any details. A French government official said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who was also in Paris for the rally, didn't attend the meeting.

The leaders of Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France are working on setting up a possible meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan. But Merkel's office said late Saturday that it's not yet clear whether the meeting can take place.

In talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Poroshenko, she stressed that for the meeting to be successful there has to be progress on implementing a much-violated peace deal that was drawn up in Minsk in September. Merkel has insisted that every point of that agreement must be fulfilled.

Hollande has repeatedly said he would go to Astana only on condition there's a chance of making progress. A top official at the French presidency said Sunday after the three-way meeting that the Astana summit remains a question mark. He spoke anonymously because he wasn't authorized to speak publicly.

The foreign ministers of the four countries will meet in Berlin on Monday.


Associated Press writer Sylvie Corbet contributed to this report from Paris.

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