Merkel, Putin speak about Syria, Ukraine on sidelines of G20

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke in person late Sunday for nearly two hours on the sidelines of the Group of 20 (G20) summit in China.

German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said the main topics were the civil war in Syria, especially the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Aleppo, and the situation in eastern Ukraine.

Merkel and Putin spoke "very concretely" about how to continue measures agreed in Minsk last year, Seibert said without providing details.

A ceasefire agreement between pro-Russian separatists and Kiev government troops applying to the front line in eastern Ukraine was signed in Minsk in February 2015, but many points within the peace plan have not yet been implemented and the ceasefire remains fragile.

Merkel and Putin along with French President Francois Hollande and Ukrainian President Petro Poroschenko negotiated the agreement in the Belarussian capital. But the conflict in eastern Ukraine between pro-western Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian separatists is still unresolved.

Putin has called on the United States to apply its influence on Kiev in order to make progress toward a solution. Whether another meeting of Merkel, Putin, Hollande and Poroschenko would take place anytime soon remained unknown on Sunday evening.

It was the first meeting between Merkel and Putin in several months. Relations have been strained since Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Last update: Mon, 05/09/2016 - 00:36

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