France says Ukraine talks "very difficult", no deal yet

by Reuters
Thursday, 20 February 2014 20:17 GMT

KIEV, Feb 20 (Reuters) - France's foreign minister said on Thursday there was still no agreement over a proposed roadmap to ease the crisis in Ukraine, describing the talks as "very difficult".

"There is no agreement for now, the negotiations are very difficult and we are working to reach a peaceful solution," Fabius told reporters before leaving with his Polish and German counterparts to see Ukrainian President Yanukovich after a more than two-hour meeting with the opposition.

The three ministers, who extended their stay in Kiev until Friday, have been negotiating with the government and opposition since Thursday morning.

Diplomatic sources indicated earlier that the roadmap would include forming a temporary government.

"We have to find every way to see how we can put a new government in place, think about elections and see how we can end the violence, but at this moment there is no solution," Fabius said.

In a sign of further diplomatic efforts, German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Barack Obama by phone on Thursday to tell them about the mission of the French, Polish and German foreign ministers in Kiev, her spokesman said.

They all agreed that a political solution to the crisis in Ukraine must be found as soon as possible and that the escalating bloodshed must stop, he added.

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