German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande have called for the "Minsk II" ceasefire deal in Ukraine to be "fully respected." They also said Greece should remain in the eurozone.
On Friday, France and Germany continued to demand that the Minsk agreements aimed at resolving an ongoing crisis in Ukraine be fully implemented and a ceasefire be observed.
"The ceasefire has been violated several times. It must now be fully respected along the entire front line," French President Francois Hollande told a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
"With the German chancellor, we have never stopped speaking since the (September) Minsk agreements and we are more convinced than ever that they must be applied - all the agreements, nothing but the agreements," Hollande added.
The French leader underlined that any country that failed to respect the Minsk agreements would face sanctions.
New sanctions against Russia were an option if the peace deal to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine continued to be violated, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, but she added that the present focus was on an implementation of the agreements.
After talks with Hollande in Paris, she pointed out that the European Union "could raise the issue of sanctions" if needed.
The German chancellor acknowledged that implementing the peace deal was difficult but insisted that the parties involved press ahead in doing so.
Greece should remain in the eurozone
During the joint press conference, Hollande stressed that crisis-hit Greece should stay in the eurozone.
"Greece is in the eurozone and has to stay in the eurozone," Hollande said, ahead of a crunch meeting in Brussels on the issue.
"German and European policymakers are very much geared toward Greece remaining in the eurozone. The Greek population has made a lot of sacrifices to ensure that happens," Merkel said, adding that "a lot of technicalities need to be resolved."
She called for an "improvement" in the Greek proposals, pointing out that the Bundestag, the lower house of parliament, would vote on a program for Greece next week.
Eurozone finance ministers were due to meet in Brussels to discuss Greece on Friday afternoon.
jil/kms (Reuters, dpa, AFP)