German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Wednesday demanded that Russia cooperate constructively, ahead of the meeting of foreign ministers of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Hamburg, according to Ukraine Today.
During a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, Steinmeier told him that Moscow needed to help defuse growing tensions in Europe, Steinmeier`s office said, describing the talks as ”serious,” Ukraine Today reported.
Steinmeier also called on Russia to implement an ”immediate humanitarian ceasefire” in Syria and urged Lavrov to push for a political solution to the conflict.
Concerning Ukraine, Steinmeier has criticized Russia`s involvement in the conflict along with the illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014.
We believed that after the end of the Cold War, ”the question of war and peace would have settled forever in Europe,” Steinmeier wrote in a co-written op-ed in the Frankfurter Allegmeine Zeitung. However, ”the question returned” after Russia`s annexation of Crimea, he added.
Despite numerous diplomatic efforts to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine, fueled by Russia, little has come out of the peace process.
Nearly 50 foreign ministers are due to attend the two-day 23rd OSCE Ministerial Council, which begins on Thursday. Syria and Ukraine are expected to dominate the agenda.
Steinmeier emphasized that the need to strengthen the organization as a ”place for constant dialogue” to ”overcome conflicts,” whether in Europe or abroad.
Prior to his meeting with Steinmeier, Lavrov also met with US Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss Syria. The meeting will likely be one of the last between the two diplomats as Kerry will leave office along with President Barack Obama in January.