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Ukraine summit meeting canceled

With lower-level negotiations at an impasse, a summit meeting was deemed unnecessary.

By Ed Adamczyk

BERLIN, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- A planned summit on a peace plan for Ukraine was canceled after foreign ministers failed to make progress at a Berlin meeting.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Monday's four-hour meeting between negotiators from France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine was a "very open exchange" but failed to produce results that would aid a planned four-party summit scheduled for Thursday in Kazakhstan which was to include the Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

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Steinmeier and Merkel have been leading the push for Ukraine, Russia and pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine to honor an often-violated peace accord agreed to in Sept. 2014. The Berlin meeting ended Monday with a joint statement from Steinmeier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, calling for progress on implementing the peace deal.

A prisoner exchange, withdrawal of heavy weaponry from the front lines and a cessation of hostilities remain unfulfilled elements of the peace accord, and without their implementation, little success could be expected at a summit meeting, German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said.

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