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Contact Group’s video conference a positive move towards implementing Minsk accords

December 20, 2014, 23:38 UTC+3 KIEV
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KIEV, December 20. /TASS/. Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko and Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel in a phone conversation on Saturday agreed that Friday’s online video conference of the Contact Group on Ukraine was a positive move towards implementation of the Minsk agreements, the Ukrainian presidential press service said.

“The interlocutors noted that in this context the meeting of Contact Group is crucial so as to go to the disengagement line, to fix the road map of troops’ pullback and to release captives,” the press service said.

Poroshenko was hopeful that “all the sides in the peace settlement will exert their efforts so that the Contact Group can meet in the foreseeable future.”

Merkel and Poroshenko agreed to continue a multilateral dialogue to reach peace settlement in Donbass.

On Friday, in the online video conference official representatives of Kiev and the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics failed to coordinate the date for a new meeting in the Belarusian capital Minsk but reached an agreement of prisoners’ swaps by the formula “all for all.”

On September 5 a meeting of the Contact Group on Ukraine took place in Minsk with the participation of Kiev, Ukraine’s south-eastern regions, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and Russia when the sides adopted a 12-item protocol on peace settlement in Ukraine, with agreements on a ceasefire and exchange of prisoners.

Two weeks later, on September 20 the Contact Group adopted a memorandum on implementing a ceasefire. The nine-item document includes a ban on all weapons, pulling back heavy weapons from the line of engagement and setting up a buffer zone of 15 kilometres. It also entrusts the OSCE with a task of controlling implementation of the agreements.

OSCE envoy Heidi Tagliavini, Ukraine’s former president Leonid Kuchma, Russia’s Ambassador to Kiev Mikhail Zurabov, DPR Prime Minister Aleksandr Zakharchenko and the head of Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR), Igor Plotnitsky, put their signatures under the document.

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