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Italian foreign minister to visit Ukraine, Russia

January 11, 2018, 14:24 UTC+3 ROME

The visits will take place on January 30 and February 1

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ROME, January 11. /TASS/. Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Angelino Alfano will visit Ukraine and Russia, he said on Thursday during his speech at the OSCE headquarters in Vienna with which he opened the country’s chairmanship in the organization. The visits will take place on January 30 and February 1.

"I intend to visit Ukraine and Russia from January 30 to February 1," Alfano said, but did not specify what meetings he will take part in during his visits.

The minister noted that the goal of his trip to Ukraine is the assessment of the situation there. Alfano said that "a mutual breach of truce agreements undermines confidences and the settlement process as a whole." That said, he expressed hope that the detainee swap that was held in late 2017 in Donbass would bring changes "to the hostile tendency and lead to progress in the execution of the Minsk accords."

Alfano called the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis and the security guarantee for the OSCE observers in the conflict zone one of the priority tasks for the Italian chairmanship in the OSCE. "Many people believe that the future of the OSCE depends on the success of the Special [Monitoring] Mission to Ukraine; it is abundantly clear that this is a test for the organization’s prestige," the Italian foreign minister noted.

"We fully support the observers’ mission, like before. Their work, often conducted in dangerous conditions, is essential to prevent the conflict escalation. Thus, we believe that, first, it is necessary to guarantee the security of the observers and enable them to perform their tasks in the safest possible conditions," he said.

The Italian foreign minister also emphasized the need to bolster negotiation efforts within the Normandy format and in the Contact Group. In his opinion, the negotiation participants should pay special attention to the humanitarian aspect. Alfano invited the members of the OSCE Permanent Council "to engage in a thorough discussion on the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis."

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