M. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, had a conversation early this afternoon with his Russian counterpart, Mr Sergei Lavrov. The meeting follows on from yesterday’s discussions between the French and Russian Presidents and the previous telephone discussion between the two ministers on Saturday.
The Minister recalled the seriousness of the current tensions and our deep concern in this respect. He reiterated the importance of a Trilateral Contact Group meeting, under the aegis of the OSCE, being held as soon as possible, as the French and Russian Presidents agreed yesterday. This meeting is essential for getting those involved to respect and return to the implementation of the ceasefire on the contact line. The Minister encouraged his Russian counterpart to use his influence with the de facto representatives of the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, who for the moment are refusing to agree to the meeting being held.
As on Saturday, the Minister also emphasized the importance of using the window for dialogue which is still possible, while there is still time. As he stated during the meeting of European Union foreign ministers today, France remains ready to contribute to this, along with its partners. With this in mind, the Minister suggested to his Russian counterpart that he visit Paris on Friday 25 February, to which the latter agreed, to hold consultations in preparation for the summit, the principle of which was agreed by our two presidents, after President Macron’s discussions with our partners. The Minister recalled that the meeting can be held only if Russia does not invade Ukraine.