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WASHINGTON, September 19. /ITAR-TASS/. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Thursday he was hoping that the Minsk dialogue on the resolution of the conflict in Ukraine would continue within the next few days.
He said he expected the truce that has been holding in eastern Ukrainian regions for 12 days to transform into lasting peace that would help to save the major cities in the region, Donetsk and Lugansk.
The Belarusian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that a meeting of the Contact Group on Ukraine was scheduled for September 19.
Ukraine will be represented by former President Leonid Kuchma.
The previous meeting of the Contact Group took place in Minsk on September 5 when the parties agreed to a ceasefire and exchange of prisoners of war.
Attending the meeting were officials from Kiev, representatives of the embattled south-eastern regions of Ukraine, officials from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and Russia.
On September 3, Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed a peace plan for settling the conflict in eastern Ukraine. It calls for ending active offensive operations by armed forces, armed units and militia groups in southeast Ukraine in the Donetsk and Lugansk areas; withdrawing Ukrainian armed forces units to a distance that would make it impossible to fire on populated areas using artillery and all types of multiple launch rocket systems; allowing for full and objective international monitoring of compliance with the ceasefire and monitoring of the situation in the safe zone created by the ceasefire.
The plan also suggests excluding all use of military aircraft against civilians and populated areas in the conflict zone; organising the exchange of individuals detained by force on an ‘all for all’ basis without any preconditions; opening humanitarian corridors for refugees and for delivering humanitarian cargoes to towns and populated areas in Donbass - Donetsk and Lugansk regions; and making it possible for repair brigades to come to damaged settlements in the Donbass region in order to repair and rebuild social facilities and life-supporting infrastructure and help the region to prepare for the winter.
Last Monday, September 8, Putin and Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko discussed steps that would facilitate further peaceful settlement in the south-east of Ukraine.
On September 17, Poroshenko proposed a special self-rule status for the independence-seeking Donetsk and Lugansk regions and the free use of the Russian language there.
The draft law he submitted to the parliament calls for local elections in the region, commonly known as Donbass, on November 9, 2014.
It guarantees the use of the Russian or any other language “in public and private life, the study and support of the Russian or any other language, its free development and equal status”, the newspaper Ukrainska Pravda quoted the draft law as saying.
Kiev will also guarantee that the persons who participated in the fighting in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions would not be prosecuted.