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BRUSSELS, April 16, /ITAR-TASS/. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen expressed hope on Wednesday that an international four-party meeting in Geneva on the situation in Ukraine, involving Russia, Ukraine, the United States and the European Union and due on Thursday, will be constructive.
“We do hope that the Geneva talks will pave the way for a peaceful and political solution to the crisis,” Rasmussen told journalists in Brussels after a meeting of the North Atlantic Council.
He said that political settlement of the Ukrainian crisis is the only way out.
“NATO fully supports the Geneva talks and all the efforts of the international community to find a political solution, which fulfills the democratic aspirations of the entire Ukrainian people and respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” the NATO chief said.
The holding of the four-sided talks on April 17 on Ukraine in Geneva is still on the agenda, but any use of force against protesters in Ukraine’s southeastern regions should be stopped, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Wednesday after talks with his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Binh Minh.
Protests against the new self-proclaimed Ukrainian authorities, who were brought to power as a result of a coup in February, have erupted in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking eastern territories, in particular, the Donetsk, Lugansk and Kharkov regions, with demonstrators demanding referendums on the country’s federalization.
Ukrainian parliament-appointed acting head of state Alexander Turchinov on Tuesday announced the start of an antiterrorism operation in the Donetsk Region in an apparent effort to crack down on protests of federalization supporters.