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United States welcomes new Minsk agreements on Ukraine

February 12, 2015, 19:48 UTC+3

The agreement represents a potentially significant step toward a peaceful resolution of the conflict

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WASHINGTON, February 12. /TASS/. The United States welcomes new agreements on the Ukrainian crisis resolution that were reached in Minsk earlier on Thursday, the White House said in a statement.

"The United States welcomes the agreement reached today in Minsk by the OSCE-led Trilateral Contact Group, which was endorsed by the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany, and France. The agreement represents a potentially significant step toward a peaceful resolution of the conflict and the restoration of Ukraine’s sovereignty consistent with the Minsk agreements from last September," the White House said.

"We especially appreciate the tireless efforts of German Chancellor Merkel and French President Hollande to reach this new accord," the statement said. "We call on all parties to carry out the commitments undertaken in today’s accord and the September agreements fully and without delay."

"This agreement must now be followed by immediate, concrete steps to fulfill the commitments by all parties," the White House said. "The cease-fire must be implemented and honored. Heavy weapons must be withdrawn from the conflict zone […]".

It repeated a traditional call to Russia to end what it called "support for the separatists".

"The true test of today’s accord will be in its full and unambiguous implementation, including the durable end of hostilities and the restoration of Ukrainian control over its border with Russia," the statement said.

The White House claimed it was particularly concerned about the escalation of fighting today, "which is inconsistent with the spirit of the accord."

New agreements on Ukraine settlement

In a many-hour negotiating marathon that ended on Thursday, the leaders of the "Normandy quartet" - Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany - reached new Minsk agreements. According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the sides have reached an agreement on the most vital issue and on many things.

According to Putin, two key agreements: first - on a ceasefire in Donbas as of 00:00 of February 15, and the second highly important one - on the pullback of heavy armaments and measures on a long-term political settlement of the situation, are the main outcome of the negotiations.

"The way I see it, we have agreed many things. Firstly, on a ceasefire as of 00:00 of February 15," the Russian leader said. The second agreed item the Russian leader regards as very important, is the "pullback of heavy weapons from the current engagement line for the Ukrainian forces and from the line set under the September 19 Minsk Accords for the Donbas militias."

Putin also mentioned a "set of issues related to long-term political settlement." "There are several points here: first, a constitutional reform that must accommodate the legitimate rights of people resident in Donbas," Putin said.

There are also measures to settle border issues by coordination with Donbas militias, humanitarian issues, implementation of the earlier adopted law on the special status of these territories - Donetsk and Luhansk," Putin said.

The Normandy quartet negotiations by the presidents of Russia, Ukraine and France and German chancellor in Minsk proceeded in various formats (in private and with other delegations taking part for a total of 16 hours) from 19:15 pm, local time (20:15 pm, Moscow time) of February 11.

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