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VIENNA, August 243 /ITAR-TASS/. The forthcoming meeting between the Russian and Ukrainian presidents in Minsk is a good opportunity to settle the Ukraine crisis, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Aston said on Sunday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, his Belarusian and Kazakhstani counterparts Alexander Lukashenko and Nursultan Nazarbayev will meet with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Minsk on August 26. The meeting will also be attended by Ashton, European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht and EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger.
The Minsk meeting offers an opportunity, which should not be missed, Ashton said at a European political forum in the Austrian town of Alpbach.
Ashton also said that Ukraine needed to build good relations both with EU countries and Russia.
Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council spokesman Andriy Lysenko said on Thursday that Ukraine expected positive results from the talks with the leaders of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, and EU officials in Minsk next week.
He did not give a straight answer when asked whether Ukraine would unilaterally cease fire for the duration of the talks but said that the peace plan proposed by Poroshenko was still in force.
“We expect only a positive result from the meeting in Minsk, but the Poroshenko peace plan remains in force,” Lysenko said.
Poroshenko is planning to negotiate a peaceful settlement in Minsk, the presidential press service said.
Poroshenko’s 15-point peace plan calls, among other things, for release of hostages, disarmament, a secure corridor for the passage of militia from the combat area, the creation of a 10-km buffer zone on the Ukrainian-Russian border, and early local and parliamentary elections.
The planned meeting of the Russian, Belarusian, Kazakh and Ukrainian presidents in Minsk is expected to be "one of the stages on the way of de-escalation of the conflict" in Ukraine, Sergei Naryshkin, speaker of the Russian State Duma lower house of parliament, told reporters on Thursday.
"De-escalation of the conflict in Ukraine and cessation of the armed confrontation are impossible without a dialogue, primarily between political forces and all the regions in the country, Ukraine itself, and without an international dialogue," Naryshkin said.