Steinmeier hopes Donbas hostages to be swapped before Christmas
German Minister of Foreign Affairs and current Chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Frank-Walter Steinmeier expressed hope that the exchange of hostages between the parties to the conflict in Donbas will be held before Christmas. He said this in an interview with German media group Funke, DW reports.
"That would be more than a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel," Steinmeier said.
Steinmeier noted stagnation in the implementation of the Minsk agreements, saying that "the parties to the conflict are literally buried in their trenches (we are talking about negotiating positions)."
The ceasefire is being further violated, and Normandy Four has also failed to achieve substantial progress in addressing major policy issues, according to the foreign minister.
In this connection Steinmeier said it was premature talk of a weakening of sanctions against Russia.
"When visible steps are taken in the implementation of the Minsk agreements, then we can consider the relevant changes regarding sanctions," Steinmeier said.
The OSCE chairman called Crimea annexation a "violation of international law" and "our European peace order."
"We do not recognize the annexation of Crimea by Russia," Steinmeier said.