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    Russian President Vladimir Putin holds meeting with FRG Chancellor Angela Merkel and President of France Francois Hollande

    Putin Briefs Merkel, Hollande on Astana Syrian Talks Preparations - Kremlin

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    Russian leader has spoken to his and French counterpart about forthcoming January 23 in Astana, the Kremlin said Wednesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russian President Vladimir Putin has spoken to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande about steps being taken to organize the Syrian settlement talks due to start on January 23 in Astana, the Kremlin said Wednesday.

    "Putin told his colleagues about steps on implementing the Russian-Turkish-Iranian agreements on the ceasefire in Syria and on preparing the Astana meeting between Damascus and Syrian opposition representatives scheduled for January 23," the Kremlin's press service said in a statement.

    Moreover, Russian, German and French leaders discussed in a phone call on Wednesday additional efforts to deescalate tensions in eastern Ukraine stressing the need to ensure the strict implementation of Minsk peace agreements, the Kremlin press service said.

    "The sides discussed the implementation of the Minsk peace accords…expressing disappointment with the current situation in the context of the Ukrainian crisis settlement," the press service said in a press release.

    "The leaders noted, in particular, the escalation of tensions along the separation line in Donbas, as well as lack of progress in the work of the Contact Group on Ukraine," the press release said.

    According to the document, Putin, Merkel and Hollande agreed to intensify efforts in the 'Normandy Four' format, including holding a number of joint events at various levels in the near future.


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    counter, Syrian settlement, talks, Angela Merkel, Vladimir Putin, Francois Hollande, Astana
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