MOSCOW, April 12. /ITAR-TASS/. The preparation of a four-party meeting on Ukraine between the European Union, Russia, the United States, and Ukraine is underway but there is no common understanding either about its agenda or format, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Saturday, April 12.
“Moreover, the Americans have come up with their own vision for the negotiations as if it has been agreed with all the other parties. At a briefing on April 11 State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki used knowingly unacceptable wording and insisted that representatives of the present Ukrainian government would act on behalf of all regions of Ukraine, ‘including Crimea’,” Lukashevich said.
“As for the four-party proper, we expect to receive on April 14 the promised American reaction to our proposals concerning its agenda,” he added.
A four-party meeting on Ukraine is being prepared and may take place on April 17, a Western diplomatic source told ITAR-TASS on April 10.
If all parties confirm their participation, the meeting will be held in Geneva, tentatively on April 17 at the Intercontinental Hotel where many historic meetings on Syria and Iran were held, the source said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on April 9 that the four-party meeting on Ukraine should help foster equal dialogue in Ukraine. He said Russia would attend a four-party meeting on Ukraine with the United States, the European Union and the Ukrainian authorities only if it helped Kiev foster contacts with all political and regional forces inside the country.
The West has suggested holding a meeting on the situation in Ukraine. “April was named as a tentative date,” he recalled and stressed that Russia’s position was simple. “This is an internal Ukrainian crisis, and those who are holding the reins of power in Kiev now must invite all regions, all political forces to start a dialogue on the constitution, on the language and all other aspects.”
Lavrov said Russia had so far received no reply to its inquiries, including those concerning rumours that Kiev is planning to sell ballistic missile technologies. “We asked the Americans what they think about this. They keep silent,” the minister said.
Another inquiry that remains unanswered was about reports claiming that personnel of the private American security company Greystone had been deployed in Ukraine. “They say: we see no reason for this to be true. What a strange answer. Why don’t you simply say: there is none of them there?” Lavrov said, adding that there were also other inquiries that had not been answered by the U.S. authorities.
“If this meeting focuses on urging the Ukrainian authorities not to wait for the south-eastern regions to boil over, as is the case now, and on urging them to talk with these regions, we will join this call,” he said.
Lavrov recalled that the new Ukrainian authorities had not visited the southern and south-eastern regions of the country even once since February 22 when they took power in Kiev. “They say: there is the Party of Regions and there are communists in the Verkhovna Rada [parliament] and that’s enough. But it’s not so because many regions think that those who sit in the Verkhovna Rada do not represent their interests,” he said.
The minister said he did not know where the four-party meeting could take place. “We want to understand the purpose of convening this meeting,” he said.
If the organisers intend to urge the Kiev authorities to take care of the country, Russia will support it wholeheartedly. “But if they say: ‘take your seats at the table and give them cheap gas’, this is probably senseless,” he said.
In discussing ways to resolve the Ukrainian crisis some time ago, Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry did not rule out a four-party meeting between Ukrainian, Russian, EU and U.S. officials.