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MINSK, September 07, /ITAR-TASS/. Belarus welcomes a ceasefire reached by the warring parties in eastern Ukraine, President Alexander Lukashenko said in a statement distributed on Saturday.
The Contact Group for Ukraine signed a ceasefire protocol and adopted a 12-point peace plan for eastern Ukraine at its meeting in Minsk on September 5.
"This long-awaited news is inspiring awkward hope for establishing full and irrecoverable peace in this region,” Lukashenko said.
The Ukraine conflict has been one of the most alarming and debated international issues over the past few months.
“Not only regional but also international security was under threat. Without exaggeration, we can say that a war was really looming on the threshold of our common European home,” the Belarusian president went on to say.
Lukashenko gave dues to the initiatives and proposals of the presidents of Ukraine and Russia.
"The agreements in principle which they reached at the summit level in Minsk late in August started the peace process,” Lukashenko said.
The format “Customs Union-Ukraine-European Union” which was chosen for the talks made it possible to bring the sides that are really concerned with peace in Ukraine and in Europe to the negotiating table. Lukashenko praised the role of Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev who submitted concrete and timely proposals on settling the Ukraine conflict.
“There is no doubt that truce in eastern Ukraine would have been impossible without persistent efforts of the leaders of major countries of the European Union,” Lukashenko stressed.
The Contact Group for Ukraine played an extremely vital role in the peace process.
“They did titanic work and managed to reach an agreement on issues, the solution of which seemed absolutely impossible some time ago. The Contact Group needs to be thanked and commended for its work,” Lukashenko said.
The Belarusian leader also noted the role of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). This is one of the very few cases when the OSCE played the role for which it had been created and made its concrete contribution to regional peace and security.
"We are very proud that the peace process started in Minsk on the Belarusian soil. We will continue doing everything possible for the sake of peace in a fraternal country,” the Belarusian president said.
The news about the ceasefire has been welcomed with hope.
“But we should realize that this is only the first step on a long and hard way. It is necessary to overcome a mass of unexpected things and obstacles to make the Minks peace process irreversible and irrevocable,” Lukashenko stressed.
He believes that the Contact Group should expand its powers and elevate its work to a higher level in order to enable to implement all the agreements reached in Minsk.
"The armed fratricidal conflict in our dear Ukraine will leave a deep scar on the body of the Ukrainian people. That will gradually sink into oblivion. But people will remember those who managed to reverse the wheel of war in the direction of peace,” Lukashenko said in conclusion.