DONETSK, December 24 ./TASS/. A meeting of the Contact Group in Minsk on a peaceful settlement of the ongoing Ukrainian conflict is scheduled for December 24 at 15:00, the plenipotentiary representative of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) to the Minsk talks has told the Donetsk news agency.
“The meeting has been confirmed, at any rate as of the present moment. It is scheduled to start at 15:00. The agenda remains the same, including four issues: the disengagement of artillery and multiple rocket launchers, an exchange of prisoners, the lifting of the economic blockade of Donbass (eastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Lugansk regions) and enactment of laws on a special status of the region and amnesty,” said Denis Pushilin, who is vice speaker of the DNR’s People’s Council.
The agenda of a next round of talks in Minsk was “a sticking point” preventing the parties from fixing the date. On December 17, Vladislav Deinego, envoy of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LNR) to the Minsk talks, said the republic was ready for talks only if revocation of Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko’s decrees on social and economic blockade of Donbass and enactment of laws on a special status of the region and amnesty were put on the agenda.
Last week, Russia’s OSCE Ambassador Andrei Kelin said four issues were considered in the run-up to the Minsk talks. “They are the disengagement of heavy weaponry, an exchange of forcibly held persons, humanitarian aid, and the economic block of problems including resumption of economic relations between East-Ukrainian regions and Kiev,” Kelin said.
The Contact Group on the settlement of the Ukrainian conflict consists of representatives from the DNR, the LNR, which is the other self-proclaimed republic in Ukraine’s embattled southeast, Russia, the Ukrainian authorities and from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
The parties to the Ukrainian conflict agreed on a ceasefire and exchange of captives during the OSCE-mediated talks in Minsk on September 5. On September 19, the Contact Group signed a memorandum outlining the parameters for the implementation of the ceasefire commitments laid down in the Minsk Protocol of September 5.