Germany wants cooperation with Russia

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Germany
Berlin, May 20: German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has said that he is hopeful of cooperation with Russia and will continue with his diplomatic efforts in easing the Ukraine crisis.

Steinmeier, who has been seeking a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the conflict in Ukraine, was criticised by some German politicians as "permanently unsuccessful" in his current Ukraine policy.

In an interview with the newspaper Thueringische Landeszeitung (TLZ), Steinmeier warned against "a new division of Europe" if efforts to find the way to a peaceful solution to the crisis fail.

He said there was widespread support for a policy aiming to defuse the crisis, vowing to continue to do everything in his power to help create opportunities for a de-escalation in Ukraine and a peaceful solution to the conflict in the country.

Steinmeier welcomed the progress made in the "round table" talks, which began Wednesday in Kiev, saying the talks and the idea of holding a national dialogue in Ukraine were a chance to achieve a peaceful settlement of the ongoing crisis.

As for relations with Russia, he said he wished for cooperation instead of confrontation.

"One thing is clear: Many major conflicts on international agenda can only be resolved together with Russia, not against it."

"I hope that we can avoid a third stage of sanctions against Russia," the minister told TLZ. As a prerequisite for that, however, he noted that Russia should help ensure the upcoming Ukrainian presidential election Sunday.

IANS

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