Ukraine talks `difficult` but `some progress`: Steinmeier

Ukraine crisis talks in Berlin were "difficult" but made "some progress", German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has said after meeting with his Ukrainian, Russian and French counterparts.

Berlin: Ukraine crisis talks in Berlin were "difficult" but made "some progress", German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has said after meeting with his Ukrainian, Russian and French counterparts.

"Difficult talks, but I think and I hope that we have made some progress on certain points", the German minister said yesterday after a five-hour meeting with Russia`s Sergei Lavrov, Ukraine`s Pavlo Klimkin and Laurent Fabius of France.

"Despite the difficult climate, we have registered some progress", a French diplomatic source echoed. The nature of the progress wasn`t disclosed by either Steinmeier or the French source.
The meeting`s participants will report back to their respective heads of governement and "possibly decide today or tomorrow in which form we can resume the discussion", Steinmeier said.

Ahead of the meeting the German minister had expressed hopes of agreeing on steps towards a ceasefire, while admitting that Moscow and Kiew were still "far from an end to tensions".
"It was a necessary conversation during a difficult time," Steinmeier told journalists after midnight local time at the talks venue, a lakeside retreat on the outskirts of Berlin, after his counterparts had left in their motorcades.

The top German diplomat said the talks were "frank", focussed on ways to reach a ceasefire and on "how to improve the still absent efficient border controls on the Russian-Ukrainian border" as well as how to get humanitarian aid to the civilian population.

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