Normandy format must be preserved – Feldhusen
Negotiations in the Normandy format must be continued, or at least not stopped at all, in order to maintain a platform for negotiations when there is political will for them in the Russian Federation, said German Ambassador to Ukraine Anka Feldhusen.
"In my opinion, these negotiations need to be continued or, in any case, not completely stopped in order to have a platform when the time comes and when there will be political will in Russia," Feldhusen said in an exclusive interview with Interfax-Ukraine.
The diplomat noted that she does not believe that the publication by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov of confidential correspondence with the foreign ministers of Germany and France closes the way for future negotiations in the Normandy format. "No, because these negotiations depend on the political will of the parties and the political will of Russia," Feldhusen said.
She added that in any case, the negotiations in the Normandy format are now at an impasse, and in Germany they very much hoped that there would be another meeting in the Normandy format at the highest level.
"Why did Lavrov publish the correspondence? Because he could do it. So that we were outraged, but the chancellor reacted very calmly to this. To be honest, it was not a big surprise. This is not the first time they have published such confidential papers," the ambassador said.
Feldhusen stressed that Germany has always told the Russian Federation that it considers it a party to the conflict in eastern Ukraine. "Russia says that as long as they are considered a party to the conflict, they do not want to meet. They have always been a party to the conflict, we have always told them that. Perhaps now it has become more public, but it has always been so. In Brussels, three Foreign Ministers also clearly emphasized that they are ready for a meeting in the Normandy format at any time," she said.
The ambassador stressed that Germany will always support Ukraine in these negotiations, in this situation. "We have been showing for many years that we stand firmly with Ukraine. We cannot physically force Russia to sit down at the negotiating table. Sometimes you have to wait a little. As you said, we will have a new government, they are now also thinking about how to proceed. What is more, elections are expected in France. Now is exactly the period when you need to think more than act and see what can be done after that. But Germany and, I am sure, France are with Ukraine, and we will find new ways," she explained.
Feldhusen believes that there is no point in talking about new formats for resolving the situation.
"We are always glad when our partners support us, and the United States did it. We continue to cooperate with the United States in this way, we are really in very close contact with them, they want to help. It makes no sense to talk about other formats, because we have one format. We know how it works, and if it is supported, that's already good," she said.