Russian, Ukrainian foreign ministers in Vienna for meeting

5th May 2014, Comments 0 comments

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Ukrainian counterpart Andriy Deshchytsia arrived in Vienna on Monday, officials said, ahead of a Council of Europe meeting expected to be dominated by the Ukraine crisis.

Lavrov and Deshchytsia are "due to attend a working dinner later, but this is not a bilateral meeting, there will be other foreign ministers there," Austrian foreign ministry spokesman Gerald Fleischmann said.

The last time Lavrov and Deshchytsia, whose Western-backed Kiev government Moscow refuses to recognise, are thought to have met officially was when a deal aimed at resolving the crisis was struck in Geneva on April 17.

This deal has since unravelled but German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Sunday he was in talks with Russia, the United States and the European Union about a second peace conference in the Swiss city.

Around 30 foreign ministers from the 47-state Council of Europe were expected to attend Tuesday's gathering including Britain's William Hague. Steinmeier and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius will however not be present.

The Council of Europe meeting is due to discuss the status of democracy and human rights and cooperation within the European Union before a working lunch on the situation on Ukraine, according to the rights body.

"There has to be a de-escalation not only in the rhetoric but also on the ground. The Council of Europe can contribute to finding a solution," Council of Europe spokesman Daniel Hoeltgen said.

© 2014 AFP

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