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German FM says Easter truce in Donbass should be consolidated

May 11, 2016, 13:00 UTC+3 BERLIN

According to German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Wednesday's meeting of the Normandy Four foreign ministers will center on extending the Easter truce in Donbass

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BERLIN, May 11. /TASS/. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Wednesday it is necessary to consolidate the Easter ceasefire in Ukraine’s south-eastern Donbass region.

"We, thank God, have achieved a ceasefire during the Orthodox holidays that was to a certain degree observed. Today we will discuss how to extend this Easter truce," the minister said before a meeting of the Normandy Four foreign ministers.

Steinmeier also said that "it is necessary to find the mechanisms to more effectively than before ensure its [ceasefire] observance."

The minister has said he hopes it will be possible to come closer to resolving the Donbass elections issue during Wednesday’s meeting.

"As for the political process, local elections are its cornerstone. I hope we will move forward today and agree on the procedure of what we should do with the law on local elections, preparations for them, including the security issue at the elections," he told reporters before the talks.

Steinmeier also noted that so far "there is a lull at the talks on the political settlement of the conflict."

Local elections in Donbass are one of the key points of political settlement in eastern Ukraine. Under the Minsk agreements, the polls were to be held back in 2015, along with a constitutional reform to grant a special status to certain areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

However, these elections have been postponed more than once due to Kiev’s reluctance to meet its commitments, in particular to grant amnesty to all participants in the events in Donbass, to pass laws on the special status and on elections.

Late last year the leaders of the "Normandy Four" countries set a new timeframe for elections - the first half of 2016. Ukraine still refuses to discuss preparations for the elections saying the security level in the region is low.


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