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Hollande Urges Putin to 'Move Forward' With Ukraine Cease-Fire

  • VOA News

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) listens to French President Francois Hollande during their meeting in Yerevan, Armenia, April 24, 2015.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) listens to French President Francois Hollande during their meeting in Yerevan, Armenia, April 24, 2015.

French President Francois Hollande has urged his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to "move forward" with implementing a European-brokered cease-fire agreement to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

The two leaders met Friday on the sidelines of ceremonies in Yerevan, Armenia, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the massacre of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during World War I.

"The best way to overcome what has hindered us would be to move forward with the application of the Minsk agreement," said Hollande, referring to the deal reached in February in the Belarussian capital, Minsk.

Fighting between government forces and pro-Russian separatists in the Donbas region has killed than 6,000 people and displaced 1 million others.

For his part, Putin called on Hollande to restore ties between their countries after a year of tensions over Ukraine.

"Unfortunately, our ties are not in the best shape, trade turnover is falling, including with France, which only causes regret," Putin told Hollande. “I believe that we have to look for ways to restore our ties and I believe that it's in everyone's interest," said Putin.

France had suspended indefinitely the delivery of the first of two Mistral helicopter carriers ordered by Russia because of the conflict in Ukraine

Addressing the issue, Hollande said after the meeting that no decision has been reached on settling the dispute.

Hollande said this week that France would reimburse Russia if it does not honor the deal, as part of a $1.5 billion contract signed between the two countries in 2011.

A Russian source said Hollande had proposed an "acceptable option," and in that way “France will save face" - but Hollande declined to give more details.

Putin had said the previous week that Moscow would not impose fines on France over the Mistral deal if all costs incurred by Russia were reimbursed.

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