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UN mission in Donbass should be agreed with Donetsk and Lugansk — Lavrov

November 30, 2017, 8:10 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The Russian top diplomat says deployment of a United Nations mission in Donbass is possible after disengagement of forces

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© Mikhail Pochuev/TASS

MOSCOW, November 30. /TASS/. Deployment of a United Nations mission in Donbass is to be agreed with both Kiev and with Donetsk and Lugansk and can be possible after disengagement of forces, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with Italy’s Libero newspaper published in its Thursday issue.

"A UN contingent will be deployed in the conflict zone after the parties pull out their weapons and forces," he said. "Deployment of a UN mission must be agreed with the authorities of both Kiev and in Donetsk and Lugansk."

Lavrov stressed that a UN force is to be tasked to ensure "exclusively security of OSCE SMM monitors who will be deployed in the disengagement zone on both sides of the contact line and who will patrol other areas in the conflict zone in conformity with the mandate on the implementation of the Minsk agreements."

The conflict in eastern Ukraine can only be settled via a direct dialogue between Kiev and the self-proclaimed republics in Donetsk and Lugansk but the Ukrainian authorities are reluctant to do that, he went on.

"Kiev’s authorities have been categorically refusing to recognize that a key to settlement is a search for a compromise via a direct dialogue with Donbass," he said. "This self-evident principle is the groundwork of the Minsk agreement and there is no alternative to them."

At the instruction of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Russian government on September 5 referred to the United Nations secretary General and Security Council president a draft resolution on deployment on a UN mission along the contact line in Donbass to ensure security of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission officers. Putin stressed that the deployment of a UN contingent could be possible only after the pullout of weapons and on the condition of consent from the self-proclaimed Lugansk and Donetsk republics.

Shortly after that, Kiev said the format of the mission in Donbass Putin had proposed was unacceptable. Ukraine insists on the deployment of peacekeepers on the Russian-Ukrainian border.

Possible deployment of a UN mission in Donbass is in focus of talks between Russian president’s aide Vladislav Surkov and US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker. Commenting on their latest meeting, Volker said it was a step back in terms of agreeing the mission’s parameters. Russia did not share this point of view. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov stressed that Russia was ready to continue dialogue with Washington on a possible UN mission, despite the gap in approaches.

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