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KIEV, September 13. /TASS/. The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) at the Organisation for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE) may join the work of the political subgroup at the Contact Group on settlement of the crisis in Ukraine in the context of local elections organisation in Donbass, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavel Klimkin said in a statement following a meeting of foreign ministers of the Normandy Four.
"Of big importance in this context [organisation of local elections in certain districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions] is involvement in the work of the political subgroup of the OSCE’s ODIHR," the Ukrainian foreign ministry said in a statement published on Sunday.
Besides, the ministry said, the foreign minister "stressed it necessary to begin immediately in the Contact Group discussing the modality of the local elections in certain districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions on the basis of the Ukrainian legislation and the commonly recognised criteria of OSCE."
The ministry said during a meeting in Berlin [on September 12] the parties agreed it important "to withdraw weapons of calibre under 100 mm and mortars under 120mm under monitoring and verifying of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission, including by organisation of the Mission’s permanent offices along the front line." The parties also were for continuing "of constructive cooperation at the economic working group," "including in water supplies, restoration of infrastructures, in resuming social payments with simultaneous resuming of taxes and maintenance fees."
On September 12, in Berlin, foreign ministers of the Normandy Four (Russia, Germany, France, Ukraine) discussed settlement of the conflict in Ukraine. Despite of no evident progress, the parties were positive about the talks. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he had a positive impression from the talks. "There have been certain arguments concerning the order of steps regarding the constitutional reform, the necessary actions from Kiev’s authorities in providing a permanent special status for Donbass, but the arguments we had, I believe, have been heard."
Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said "as before, it was not easy, however, I can say with relief that there has been less confrontation than before. We have been able to move forward on some issues," he said. The talks also showed "how difficult every step forward was. What we have achieved today was a result of hard work and must be implemented by the Contact Group." "There is hope that today’s meeting will contribute to defusing tensions in eastern Ukraine and also that it was part of preparations for the "Four’s" summit on October 2," the German foreign minister said.
Talks of the Normandy Four (Russia, Germany, France, Ukraine) leaders on the Ukrainian issue took place for the first time in the Belarusian capital Minsk on February 12. Simultaneously, regular talks of the Contact Group on settlement of the Ukrainian crisis were held in Minsk on February 10-12.
The talks ended by adoption of a 13-point package of measures, which contained in particular a ceasefire, withdrawal of heavy weapons, as well as measures on long-term political settlement of the Ukrainian crisis, including enforcement of a special self-rule status for certain districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.