MOSCOW, December 11. /TASS/. The speaker of the Russian Federation Council upper house of parliament, Valentina Matviyenko, emphasized on Wednesday the importance of the Normandy format’s confirming that the Minsk agreements had no alternative.
"In my opinion the main thing is that this meeting once again confirmed that the Minsk agreements have no alternative. This is a key matter, since some other ideas and other formats were mentioned ahead of the talks. It is a major accomplishment, I think, that nobody began ‘ripping up’ the Minsk agreements, rewriting them in order to drag feet," Matviyenko told reporters.
"The decision was taken, and was voiced by all four leaders. This means that there is a hope that eventually the Minsk agreements will start to be implemented. Since a new meeting will take place in four months to discuss concrete progress," she added.
Although there had been no inflated expectations from the Normandy summit, it produced a lot of positive facts, she said, citing the very fact of the summit among them. Bilateral talks of the Russian and Ukrainian presidents were also very important, she added. "After all, a face-to-face dialogue is much better than no dialogue at all or telephone conversations. I hope this will break the deadlock in mutual understanding, and a certain constructive process will be launched," the speaker emphasized.
Matviyenko characterized the agreement to exchange ‘all for all’ as "a good New Year present for the next-of-kin, for the families who are waiting to see their sons and fathers on this side or another". Confirmation of the need to disengage forces gives hopes that these developments will continue, she emphasized.
The upper house’s speaker believes that the Ukrainian president was working and making decisions at the summit in difficult conditions, "against the background of a show in Kiev and in Paris" staged by those who don’t want to see peace return to Ukraine. However, nobody but Zelensky can make these decisions, she added.
Matviyenko criticized Zelensky’s word ‘a draw’ applied to his talks with President Putin, adding that such terminology was unacceptable for international talks of such high level. "This is not a chess play. The fates of millions of people are involved, the people who have been shelled for the past five years, going through colossal difficulties. The aim of the Normandy format is to render assistance in the settlement of the Ukrainian conflict, and above all to save the lives and make the life easier for those people who live there," Matviyenko added.
Normandy Four summit in Paris
A Normandy Four summit was held in Paris on Monday, for the first time after a three-year break. Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia, Emmanuel Macron of Germany, Vladimir Zelensky of Ukraine and German Chancellor Angela Merkel gathered in the Elysee Palace to discuss ways of settling the conflict in Donbass.
The first personal meeting between the Russian and Ukrainian leaders, Vladimir Putin and Vladimir Zelensky, took place during the summit. Before that, they had only telephone conversations. Speaking at a news conference after the summit, the French president hailed this fact as one of the positive results of the summit.
The seven-hours talks yielded a final document committing to paper a number of concrete accords. Among the summit’s expected results was an agreement to exchange prisoners-of-war in Donbass under the formula of "all identified for all identified" by the yearend.
The summit’s participants also called for a complete and all-embracing ceasefire before the end of 2019 and agreed to support an accord within the framework of the Contact Group on the political settlement in eastern Ukraine on three additional sections of disengaging forces and weapons in the conflict area by the end of March 2020.
And last but not least, the leaders agreed to continue the top-level discussion in the Normandy format in a span of four months and to use this time to make further steps towards political settlement of the conflict in Donbass.