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Contact Group for Ukraine to hold conference in Minsk

November 17, 2015, 7:14 UTC+3
The previous conference took place three weeks ago
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MINSK, November 17. /TASS/. The five-partite Contact Group in charge of settling the armed civil conflict in eastern Ukraine and it four working subgroups meet here on Tuesday for a yet another conference.

The previous conference took place three weeks ago. The talks in the Normandy Four format comprising Russia, Germany, France, and Ukraine that were held in Berlin after it reaffirmed the importance of complying persistently with the Minsk accords.

The Berlin talks also produced the current agenda for the peace process.

A crucial provision in the field of security was implemented last week, as the sides to the conflict in Donbass completed the pullback of weaponry with the calibers smaller than 100 mm from the Line of Contact separating their combat positions.

Along with it, the instances of shelling of the areas adjoining the Line of Contact intensified since the beginning of November. The sides accuse each other of encroachments on the ceasefire and the Defence Ministry of the self-proclaimed unrecognized Donetsk People’s Republic has registered an amassed concentration of armaments by the pro-Kiev units in all the sectors of the line.

The DPR defence officials say the Ukrainian military have concentrated 322 units of weaponry there.

The foreign ministers of the Normandy Four countries said at the talks in Berlin the Minsk accords would stay in effect until all of their provisions were fulfilled. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stressed the essentiality of fulfilling all the items of the political settlement plan, including adoption of a law on local elections in Donbass, effectuation of the voting as such, an amnesty, and a constitutional reform fixing a special status for the region.

Leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk republics said at the beginning of October they agreed to hold the elections in 2016. At the end of the same month the Kiev government submitted its own concept of the law on elections, which made it possible for members of the political subgroup to begin discussions of a working document on local elections that took account of the positions of all the parties to the process of negotiations - the Kiev government, the Donetsk and Lugansk Republics, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

The degree of pullback of heavy armaments from the Line of Contact in Donbass remains small so far on both sides. Michael Bociurkiw, the chief of the OSCE monitoring mission in Ukraine said at the end of October the heavy armaments that were to be withdrawn under the accords still remain at positions close to the Line of Contact and not located on the sites where they were registered and where they should be under the agreement on the pullback.

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