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WASHINGTON, March 13. /TASS/. US and Germany agree that violations of the Minsk agreements by the Donbass self-defense forces may entail "significant increased costs for Russia," the White House press service said on Thursday after a meeting between US National Security Advisor Susan Rice and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
Rice and Steinmeier "agreed on the need for all parties to fully implement the Minsk agreements, including ceasing all military action, cooperating with the OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe] so that its monitors can verify a full pull back of heavy weapons, and releasing all prisoners," the press service said. There will be "significant increased costs for Russia" if the Minsk agreements are violated or if Donbass self-defense forces "seek to gain new territory," the White House said.
Rice and Steinmeier also discussed Iran and their "shared efforts to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively peaceful," the press service said.
Earlier, Steinmeier met with US Secretary of State of Jon Kerry. They confirmed that US and Germany will insist on strict implementation of the Minsk agreements by the both sides in the Ukrainian conflict. ""We all insist that the withdrawal of heavy weapons needs to take place on both parts," Kerry said.
"The negotiations that took place in Minsk on the 12th of February - this Minsk package, as we call it - and I made that point more than once - may not be perfect, but it may - it is probably the only, perhaps even the last possibility, given the process of escalation, to reduce the level of violence, to initiate a process of de-escalation, and to make sure that the number of casualties we’ve seen on a daily basis is being brought down," Steinmeier said.
The German foreign minister said he discussed the implementation of the Minsk agreements with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov by telephone on his way to Washington. The Russian Foreign Ministry said that the two ministers noted the importance of "full completion of heavy weaponry withdrawal to coordinated positions and comprehensive observance of ceasefire by all sides in the conflict.".