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OSCE envoy says still much to do to resolve Ukraine conflict

February 14, 2015, 4:21 UTC+3 GENEVA
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GENEVA, February 14. /TASS/. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) special envoy to Ukraine Heidi Tagliavini said she is "cautiously optimistic" that the new agreement reached in Minsk this week will resolve the crisis in Ukraine.

"I’m cautiously optimistic…I hope for a real chance of peace and a step-by-step normalisation of the situation in eastern Ukraine," Tagliavini said in an interview with the Swiss Telegraph Agency on Friday.

The Swiss diplomat welcomed the document signed in Minsk on Thursday, stressing that this is a "complete package of measures" to implement the terms of last September Minsk protocol.

Tagliavini said the talks in the Belarusian capital were very long and difficult and demanded patience and dedication. The Russian, German, French and Ukrainian leaders "took a lot upon themselves" and "achieved the maximum" to give a real chance to a long-term peace.

The OSCE negotiator said the time period since the talks have ended and the ceasefire is about to start on Sunday is the "most difficult moment." On Friday, intense fighting continued in the war-torn eastern Ukraine.

"There is still much to do to settle the conflict," Tagliavini said, adding that the next stage is a political dialogue, namely the search for particular decisions on "coexistence" in eastern Ukraine.

The 16-hour marathon of talks between Normandy Four leaders - Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel - ended in Minsk on Thursday.

Minsk also hosted the meeting of the Contact Group on Ukraine involving Ukraine’s ex-president Leonid Kuchma, Kiev’s special representative for humanitarian issues Viktor Medvedchuk, the leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky, and Russia’s ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov and OSCE’s envoy Heidi Tagliavini, who both acted as mediators.

As a result of the meeting, it was announced that an agreement was reached on the ceasefire in certain areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions from February 15, the heavy weaponry withdrawal and also measures on a long-term political settlement of the crisis.

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