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Ukraine Contact Group reaches agreement passing to political stage of Ukraine settlement

March 13, 2015, 20:38 UTC+3
DPR Contact Group envoy Denis Pushilin told TASS there are certain shifts in the dialogue between the two sides in the conflict
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Denis Pushilin

Denis Pushilin

© TASS/Yuri Mashkov

MOSCOW, March 13. /TASS/. Contact Group on resolving the Ukraine crisis has managed to reach an agreement at an online conference on passing on to a political stage of peace settlement in Ukraine, Plenipotentiary Representative of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Denis Pushilin told TASS by phone on Friday.

"Judging by the results of the online conference, we can say there are certain shifts," Pushilin said. "There is an understanding how to move ahead, how to verify the process of ceasefire and heavy weapons pullback."

"But reaching an agreement on transition to a political stage of peace settlement is the most crucial here," he said.

Pushilin noted the effectiveness of the Friday talks.

"At previous meetings even an attempt to put forward political questions was abortive," he said.

At the online conference an agreement was reached that "in coming days the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) will submit its proposals on personal and numerical composition of the Contact Group’s thematic subgroups for resolving the political settlement."

The DPR envoy did not rule out that the next meeting of the Contact group might take place next week but added that "it depends on lots of moments."

On February 12 marathon talks between the Normandy Four leaders - Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko - in Minsk yielded a package of agreements, which in particular envisaged ceasefire between the Ukrainian conflicting sides starting from midnight on February 15.

Simultaneously, the Belarusian capital hosted a meeting of the Contact Group which members signed a four-page package of measures on implementation of the Minsk agreements

The first point of the document sets condition for an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire beginning from midnight on February 15. The conflicting parties agreed on withdrawal of all heavy weapons with the Ukrainian troops pulled back away from the current line of contact, and the militias of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions - from the line set by the Minsk memorandum of September 19, 2014.

The other provisions stipulate the release and exchange of all prisoners and illegally held persons on the "all for all" principle, withdrawal of all foreign armed groups and mercenaries from Ukraine under OSCE supervision.

The package of measures envisages Ukraine’s constitutional reform with the country’s new constitution taking effect by late 2015. The key element of the new constitution will be power decentralisation and adoption of permanent legislation on a special status for certain districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Thus, Kiev agreed that within a 30-day period of time the Verkhovna Rada parliament would adopt a draft law on a special political and economic status for certain parts in Donbas. The deadline expires on March 14.

Since February 12 the Contact Group has held just online conferences.

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