Poland, France, Germany call for Ukraine conference

BERLIN Mon Mar 31, 2014 2:52pm EDT

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BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany, France and Poland called on Monday for an international conference to be held on Ukraine and urged Russia to take part.

The three countries' foreign ministers suggested it should be held after Ukraine holds presidential elections in May.

Moscow and the West are at odds over Russia's annexation of the Crimea region in March, which followed the overthrow of Ukraine's pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovich amid a national dispute over whether the former Soviet republic should align with Europe or Russia.

"In order to send a strong signal of support, consolidate international support efforts and discuss necessary reforms, we suggest to hold a conference on gathering international support, including technical assistance for Ukraine after the presidential elections," the ministers said in a statement after meeting in Germany.

"We would greatly appreciate Russian participation," they added.

They also proposed EU-Russia talks with Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia about the consequences of EU-association agreements with Eastern European partners.

Ukraine plans to hold presidential elections on May 25. It remains deeply divided over the protests.

Leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized powers, which does not include Russia, have already suspended their participation in the G8, which does, unless the Kremlin changes course on Ukraine.

(Reporting by Annika Breidthardt; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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