MINSK (Reuters) – There is a substantial difference between how Germany and France envisage the possible deployment of U.N. peacekeepers in eastern Ukraine and Russia’s position, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told journalists on Friday.
Both Kiev and Moscow have proposed U.N. peacekeepers be deployed to help resolve Ukraine’s pro-Russian separatist conflict but the sides disagree on whether the troops should be positioned on the rebel-controlled part of the Ukraine-Russia border.
Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine have previously held talks in an effort to end the fighting that has killed more than 10,000 people despite a notional ceasefire.
“Germany and France’s idea and Russia’s idea on how a blue helmets (peacekeeping) mission would be shaped are still very far apart,” Gabriel said during an official visit to Belarus.
Nevertheless Gabriel said the deployment would represent a real chance for peace in the war-torn Donbass region.
“Although our ideas are still far apart, it would be inadvisable to close this window of opportunity,” he said.
(Reporting by Andrei Makhovsky; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg)