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The Normandy Quartet agrees to boost the real application of the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine

December 10, 2019

MADRID, Dec. 10 (EUROPE PRESS) –

The Normandy Quartet, formed by Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany, has agreed on Monday after a meeting in Paris, the gala capital, to promote the real application of the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine.

“The parties are committed to the complete and exhaustive implementation of the ceasefire, reinforced by the implementation of all the necessary measures to support this end before the end of the year 2019,” said the Quartet in a statement released by the French presidency

After the meeting, which has occurred before what the Kremlin spokesman, Dimitri Peskov, has described as a “positive dynamic”, the parties have indicated that “they will support the development and implementation of an updated demining plan based on the decision of the Trilateral Contact Group on demining activities, dated March 3, 2016. ”

The text also ensures that they will support the agreement established by the Trilateral Contact Group – made up of representatives from Russia, Ukraine and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) – in three additional withdrawal areas for the purpose to achieve the withdrawal of troops before March 2020.

“They have urged the Trilateral Contact Group to facilitate the release and exchange of prisoners before the end of the year based on the principle of 'all for all' (…) under the understanding that international organizations, including the International Committee the Red Cross will have full and unconditional access to detainees, “the document said.

They have also stressed that they will support an agreement fixed over a period of 30 days on the positions established along the contact line based primarily on humanitarian criteria.

MINSK AGREEMENTS

The parties have once again committed themselves to the Minsk Agreements, which were signed in 2015 and are considered key by the European Union to resolve the conflict.

“Countries express their interest in reaching an agreement within the Normandy format and the Trilateral Contact Group on all legal aspects of the special status for specific areas of Donetsk and Lugansk as set out in the package of measures for implementation of the Minsk Agreements of 2015 to guarantee its permanent operation, “they explained.

Belarus sponsored in 2014 a peace conference in its capital, Minsk, to resolve the conflict that broke out that same year in eastern Ukraine. The agreement was barely fulfilled and the parties signed a new version a year later, which has also been breached.

In this regard, they have emphasized the importance of incorporating the 'Steinmeier formula' into Ukrainian legislation in accordance with the version agreed by the parties. This formula was proposed in 2015 by the current German president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, when he was Foreign Minister of his country.

The initiative provides for the granting of special status to the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, controlled by the pro-Russian separatists, for the holding of municipal elections in these territories and the withdrawal of troops, something that has not yet occurred since Kiev denounces that The separatists are not respecting the ceasefire.

However, despite the peace agreements signed in 2015 in the Belarusian capital, the civil war has continued, although the front lines remain fixed for years.

The implementation of the Minsk Agreements has been thwarted several times. As the Normandy Quartet itself has stated in the past, there have been “serious failures” when it came to fulfilling the agreements in question, whose objective is to end the war between the governmental forces and the pro-Russian separatists.

However, the face-to-face meeting on Tuesday between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodimir Zelenski constitutes a renewed attempt to move towards a speedy resolution after years of tension between the two countries.

REACTIONS

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, stressed after the meeting that progress has been made in the framework of the talks to end the territorial dispute and achieve peace in eastern Ukraine.

“The fact that we are next to each other in Paris today is an important result … And a credible way to resume the talks, which had not come to fruition given the lack of progress for years,” he said before stressing that “this is an achievement”.

Thus, he has maintained that he expects a new meeting to take place under the Normandy Format in the next four months.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged to take advantage of current circumstances to move towards peace. “Now we have to move on and work very, very hard,” he said.

“There is no doubt about this, but there is a new possibility now, a movement,” he added during a press conference.

Zelenski, for his part, has described the dialogue with Putin as “positive”, while the Russian president has once again put on the table the possibility of changing the Ukrainian Constitution to give a special status to the Donbas region.

Putin, who has branded the meeting in Paris as “useful,” has insisted on the need to amnesty those who have been involved in the conflict.