14:46 GMT +314 December 2019
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    US President Barack Obama speaks on the phone in the Oval Office of the White House

    Obama, Merkel Discuss Ukraine Conflict, Europe’s Migration Crisis

    © AFP 2019 / Brendan SMIALOWSKI
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    Barack Obama has held a telephone conversation with Angela Merkel, discussing the situation in Ukraine as well as the migrant crisis Europe.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – US President Barack Obama has held a telephone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, discussing the situation in Ukraine as well as the migrant crisis Europe.

    "President Obama noted Ukraine’s progress in implementing its obligations under the Minsk agreements," the White House said in a Wednesday statement.

    Earlier in the day, the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine and its four working subgroups met in the Belarusian capital resuming talks on the implementation of the provisions of the Minsk peace accords.

    The Minsk agreement was signed by Ukraine’s conflicting sides — Kiev forces and the militia of the southeastern self-proclaimed people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk (DPR and LPR) — in February. The breakthrough ceasefire deal was reached after talks between Merkel and the leaders of Russia, France and Ukraine in Minsk.

    During Merkel’s Wednesday phone conversation with Obama, the US President "also expressed his appreciation of the Chancellor’s leadership in working to address the migration crisis in Europe, in particular her recent decision to ease the burden on border countries by providing haven to Syrian refugees."

    Last week, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said that up to 800,000 asylum seekers and refugees from conflict-torn countries in the Middle East and North Africa are expected to arrive in Germany by the end of the year. This is three times as many as in 2014.

    Merkel announced on Wednesday that German authorities would introduce amendments to the country’s legislation by October in order to improve conditions for hosting refugees.


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