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German Foreign Ministry declines to confirm that Normandy Four meeting will be held Jan 9

The German Foreign Ministry has not confirmed that the meeting of the Normandy Four (comprising Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France) at the foreign ministers' level will be held in Berlin on January 9, a ministry spokeswoman told TASS on Tuesday.

She declined to confirm the meeting date and gave no further details.

This date had previously been mentioned by Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleksiy Makeyev who twitted that "the four ministers will hold talks on January 9." Makeyev took part in the Normandy Format meeting at the political directors' level that took place in Berlin on Monday.

The name "Normandy Format" appeared after a meeting held in Normandy on June 6 that involved the leaders of the above-mentioned countries.

Over 4,000 people have lost their lives and hundreds of thousands have fled Ukraine's south-east as a result of clashes between Ukrainian troops and local militias in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions during Kiev's military operation, conducted since mid-April, to regain control over the breakaway territories, which call themselves the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics, according to United Nations data.

A ceasefire was agreed upon at talks between the parties to the Ukrainian conflict mediated by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on September 5 in Belarusian capital Minsk two days after Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed his plan to settle the situation in the east of Ukraine. Numerous violations of the ceasefire, which took effect the same day, have been reported since.

[Source: Itar Tass, Berlin, 06Jan15]

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