Merkel-Hollande visit ‘gives hope for peace’

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said a new peace plan proposed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French leader Francois Hollande, which will be presented to Moscow on Friday, has raised hopes for an end to the fighting with Kiev's pro-Russian rebels.

Merkel-Hollande visit 'gives hope for peace'
Chancellor Angela Merkel with Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko. Photo: DPA

Talks between Poroshenko and his German and French counterparts – who unexpectedly jetted into Kiev on Thursday with the new peace proposal – "give hope for a ceasefire", the Ukrainian presidency said in a statement.

There was no joint declaration by the three leaders after their talks and few details have emerged about the Franco-German diplomatic initiative.

Speaking in Paris before heading to Kiev, Hollande said he and Merkel would "propose a new solution to the conflict based on the territorial integrity of Ukraine".

Munich-based Süddeutsche Zeitung said the proposal calls for "an immediate ceasefire" and offers greater autonomy for the separatists in eastern Ukraine, across a larger area than envisaged in a ceasefire deal agreed in Minsk in September last year.

The two European leaders want to make clear to Poroshenko that this could be "the last chance" to avoid a military defeat and economic collapse, while Putin will be warned of the possibility of more sanctions, the paper added.

A spokesman for the German government dismissed the information in the article as "not accurate".

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