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EU foreign ministers, ministers from candidate countries, meet in Athens

Greece EU Foreign Ministers-1.jpg

Greece's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign minister Evangelos Venizelos stands at the entrance of Zappeion Hall before an Informal meeting of Ministers for Foreign Affairs in Athens, on Friday, April 4, 2014. European Union foreign ministers meeting in Athens on Friday urged Russia to take concrete steps to pull troops back from its border with Ukraine but said they wanted to keep communication with Moscow open.(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris) (The Associated Press)

European Union foreign ministers have gathered in Athens for the second day of an informal meeting where attention has focused on the crisis in Ukraine and the civil war in Syria.

Ministers from EU candidate countries were also joining Saturday's talks.

The situation in Ukraine dominated the first day of talks Friday. British Foreign Secretary William Hague urged EU partners to develop possible stricter sanctions against Russia should they become necessary. The EU has already imposed sanctions against individuals.

Hague, speaking as he arrived for the start of Friday's talks, said it was "very important for us to remain strong and united about the sanctions that we have implemented against individuals in Russia and Crimea, and to prepare more far-reaching measures if they become necessary."