Ukraine to pursue talks with rebels before delayed peace summit

 Ukraine said on Tuesday that a peace summit President Petro Poroshenko had hoped to convene to end his ex-Soviet republic`s separatist uprising would require more preparation and talks with pro-Russian rebels.

AFP| Updated: Jan 13, 2015, 15:15 PM IST

Kiev: Ukraine said on Tuesday that a peace summit President Petro Poroshenko had hoped to convene to end his ex-Soviet republic`s separatist uprising would require more preparation and talks with pro-Russian rebels.

The foreign ministers from Moscow and Kiev and their German and French counterparts met in Berlin on Monday to try to save a leadership meeting Poroshenko had proposed holding in the Kazakh capital Astana on Thursday.

The Berlin talks -- described by German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier as "a very long, very open exchange, with controversies" -- broke up without an announcement about the summit`s possible date.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said the immediate plan of action called for European mediators to help Russian and Ukrainian envoys arrange direct negotiations with the leaders of the two separatists provinces.

That meeting would try to address the most contentious points of a much-maligned September 5 truce deal that Western leaders still see as the only solution for ending the nine-month east Ukrainian revolt.

Klimkin said in comments released by his office on Tuesday that the four foreign ministers would get together again after Kiev`s talks with the rebels "to discuss our progress and determine a very clear plan of our future activities."

He did not provide a timeframe for the next foreign ministers` meeting or when an actual summit involving Russian President Vladimir Putin might take place.

The Berlin talks` inconclusive outcome follows repeated urgings from German Chancellor Angela Merkel for Moscow and Kiev to focus more on immediately ending the fighting.

Fighting in Ukraine`s largely Russian-speaking industrial east has claimed the lives of 4,700 people and driven about a million from their homes.

More than 1,300 have died in clashes waged since the September 5 truce was signed in the Belarussian capital Minsk.