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May 13, 2014 AT 6:16 AM
Germany's foreign minister on Tuesday tried to broker a quick launch of talks between Ukraine's central government in Kiev and the pro-Russia separatists who declared independence a day ago in two eastern regions. Speaking at Kiev's main airport, envoy Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Germany supports Ukraine's efforts to arrange for a dialogue between the central government and its opponents in the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions that form the nation's industrial heartland. Pro-Russia insurgents have seized government buildings and clashed with government forces in eastern Ukraine in the past month and are holding some journalists and others hostage. Steinmeier voiced hope for a quick release of the hostages, the handover of occupied buildings and stressed the importance of holding Ukraine's presidential vote as planned on May 25.