The Normandy Format talks (French: Format Normandie) involve the representatives of the Normandy Four countries (Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France) who aim to resolve the war in Donbass. It has been also known as the Normandy contact group.
The group was created on June 6, 2014, when leaders from France, Germany, Russia, and Ukraine met on the margins of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day allied landings in Normandy. It operates mainly through telephone calls between the leaders and their respective ministers of foreign affairs. The Normandy Format has sometimes been expanded to include Belarus, Italy and the United Kingdom.
Negotiations and talks were stalled from 2016 until autumn 2019.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in his May 2019 inaugural address made peace talks with Russia his top priority. He reaffirmed this priority in July that year when he invited via YouTube his co-equal to a dialogue with the words
|“||Let's discuss who Crimea belongs to and who isn't in the Donbass region.||”|
The revelation in late September 2019 of a phone call between Trump and Zelenskiy, in which Zelenskiy described the support of France and Germany as lukewarm, damaged Zelenskiy's image among the Europeans. On 10 October Zelenskiy repeated his statement in a public news conference. Whereas on 21 September "continuing bickering" was cited as causing "a political tug-of-war" over the preliminaries to negotiations, as they had been ever since the Normandy Format meeting in 2016 at Berlin, the 9 September agreement between Macron and Putin to reconvene quadripartite talks was duly remembered, and the decision to hold new talks was cemented at a joint Franco-German leaders meeting on 16 October.
There were six meetings.
- Château de Bénouville, Normandy, France — 6 June 2014 — the first meeting in celebration of the 70th anniversary of Operation Overlord
- Milan, Italy — 16–17 October 2014 — as part of Asia-Europe Meeting
- Minsk, Belarus — 11–12 February 2015 — Minsk II was signed
- Paris, France — 2 October 2015
- Berlin, Germany — 19 October 2016
- Paris, France — 9 December 2019
- Germany — March 2020*
- *At the December 2019 talks, all parties agreed to meet in the Normandy Format again in March 2020 in Germany, but few additional details were agreed upon.
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