However, it’s “certain” that elections would take more time to be organized, Hollande said, adding “we don’t want elections to get held in eastern Ukrainian territories under conditions that would not respect Minsk”.
The cease-fire between Ukrainian forces and Russian separatists in the east of the country is holding even though the lack of progress in withdrawing weapons and organizing elections means a year-end deadline for full implementation of the Minsk peace accords will slide.
Poroshenko invited Hollande to pay an official visit to Ukraine.
“It was positive that we all could discuss together”, Merkel said. The next appointment to keep the peace process on track will be early November, with a meeting of foreign ministers.
The program of the visit includes a bilateral meeting with Hollande at the residence of the French president in the Elysee Palace.
Hollande said that he told his Russian counterpart that France insisted on three conditions: Russia must strike “Daesh and only Daesh”; security of civilians must be ensured; and the political transition in Syria should be based on the Geneva agreement.
Hollande said this meeting “is being held in a different format” from the previous one, referring to the ceasefire in Donbas.
But the meeting could be overshadowed by a refugee crisis spurred by the war in Syria and Russia’s dramatic military intervention there this week to support President Bashar al-Assad.