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New year to offer new chance to settle Ukraine crisis - German foreign minister

January 03, 2015, 17:12 UTC+3 BERLIN
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BERLIN, January 3. /TASS/. A possibility exists in 2015 to make progress in resolving the Ukraine crisis, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in an interview with newspaper Welt am Sonntag that will be published on Sunday.

“Possibly, a new chance will be offered in the new year to reach progress in resolving the Ukraine crisis,” Welt am Sonntag citied excerpts from the interview with the German foreign minister.

Steinmeier believes that “the humanitarian obligation to help people in eastern Ukraine live through the winter” can facilitate the crisis settlement. “We want to make use of this,” he said.

The German foreign minister also believes that next steps are required at this stage amid a truce, which should be really observed.

The Minsk accords on the ceasefire reached between pro-Kiev forces and the self-defense militia of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions should “lay the basis for the activity of all the sides,” he said.

The foreign ministers of Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine discussed during their phone talk on January 2 the ways of facilitating the peaceful settlement of the situation in southeast Ukraine.

As Russia’s Foreign Ministry reported, “the sides continued discussing the ways of facilitating the process of peaceful settlement in southeast Ukraine, including as part of implementation of the Minsk accords.”

“In this regard, a need was stressed for the quickest convocation of a regular meeting of the Contact Group,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said.

The Contact Group had its first meeting in Minsk on September 5. Representatives of Kiev, southeast Ukraine, the OSCE and Russia participated in the meeting. A Donbas peace plan and the ceasefire were agreed upon at the talks.

Upon the results of the second meeting in Minsk on September 20, the Contact Group adopted a memorandum on fulfilling the ceasefire regime.

The 9-clause document includes a ban on the use of all types of weapons, the withdrawal of more than 100mm weapons 15 kilometers away from the contact line by each party. Control over fulfillment of the document provisions is shouldered on the OSCE.

Conflicting parties declared December 9 as ‘silence regime’ to get back to the fulfillment of the Minsk peace deals in the military operation zone in Donbas. Kiev and the self-proclaimed republics stated about the need to start a pullback of heavy weaponry, make captive swaps and demilitarize the region.

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