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MINSK, August 14. /TASS/. Foreign ministers of Belarus, Ukraine and Lithuania have urged members of the Contact Group on the Ukraine crisis to reach speedy agreements acceptable to all parties, the Belarusian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday reporting a meeting between Belarus's Vladimir Makei, Lithuania’s Linas Linkevicius and Ukraine’s Pavlo Klimkin in Ukraine’s southern city of Odessa.
"The ministers thoroughly discussed the regional situation related to the conflict in the south-east of Ukraine and spoke in favor of the achievement as soon as possible specific agreements acceptable to all parties within the framework of the Trilateral Contact Group," the statement said.
During the meeting, Foreign Minister Makei "focused on the importance of synergy of the integration processes on the European continent, as well as starting dialogue between the EAEU [the new Russia-led political and economic bloc — the Eurasian Economic Union] and the EU in the future", it said.
"The foreign ministers of the three countries also discussed possible actions aimed at strengthening trilateral cooperation in the political, trade and economic, transport spheres, as well as development of trilateral regional projects in various fields," the ministry added.
Authorities in east Ukraine’s self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, as well as Russia, have repeatedly stressed that there was no alternative to peace accords signed in Minsk, Belarus, in February.
Speaking at a round table meeting at the TASS news agency on Wednesday, Denis Pushilin, the Donetsk republic’s envoy to the Trilateral Contact Group of senior representatives from Ukraine, Russia and European security watchdog OSCE, said: "There is no alternative to Minsk [agreements]. A political decision should be made."
The Trilateral Contact Group on February 12, 2015, signed a 13-point Complex of Measures to fulfill the September 2014 Minsk agreements.
The Complex of Measures (Minsk-2), earlier agreed in the Belarusian capital with leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France, envisaged a ceasefire between Ukrainian government forces and people’s militias starting from February 15.
This was to be followed by withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of military engagement by at least 15 kilometers (9 miles), prisoner release and agreement for international observers to monitor the truce.
Based on September’s stillborn Minsk peace protocol, the deal also laid out a road map for a lasting settlement in Ukraine, including local elections and constitutional reform to give the war-torn eastern regions more autonomy.
Among the terms of the February 12 deal was a commitment to intensify the work of the Contact Group. Four subgroups, tasked with addressing security, political, economic and humanitarian issues, are expected to advance work by the Contact Group in activating elements of the Minsk deal.