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Merkel says sanctions on Russia should be tied to fulfilling Minsk peace agreement

In Poland for talks with government leaders, Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that sanctions on Russia should be tied to fulfilling this year's Minsk agreement. Ukraine is just one of the bilateral meeting topics.

Merkel told a joint news conference with Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz in Warsaw on Monday that international sanctions imposed on Russia should depend on whether peacekeeping committments signed this year in Minsk are upheld.

Merkel has a number of cabinet ministers with her for the 13th round of government-level consultations she has held with Poland.

"During the European Council (meeting) in March we took an unambiguous decision that the sanctions were related to completing the Minsk agreements," Merkel said ahead of the talks. "It is clear that completing this package is taking longer. We will deal with this issue in June," she said.

Kopacz said that Merkel agreed with her that sanctions on Russia should be maintained.

Vladislav Bartoszewski

Ahead of their talks on Monday, the two leaders held a minute's silence for the former Polish foreign minister

Vladislav Bartoszewski who died aged 93

on Friday. Bartoszewski was a key figure in the post-World War II reconciliation between Poland and Germany.

Apart from Ukraine, the talks are expected to cover train connections between the two countries and the minimum wage for long-distance truck drivers in Germany.

Preparations for the May Eastern Partnership summit in May in Riga, Latvia are also on the agenda. The partnership includes the European Union and the former Soviet states of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

jm/mg (Reuters, dpa)

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