Foreign Ministers of Russia, Ukraine to meet next week
Moscow, Nov 25 (IANS) The Russian Foreign Minister will travel to Minsk on Tuesday to discuss with his Ukrainian counterpart the implementation of the peace agreements in eastern Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Ministry has said.
Although the meeting was scheduled for late November — during the last meeting of the so-called Normandy Quartet, comprising the Presidents of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany — the Russian Foreign Ministry had so far expressed uncertainty about the effectiveness of the format.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday expressed fears that Tuesday’s meeting ran the risk of ending up as “a meeting for the sake of meeting”, and accused Kiev and the West of twisting the Minsk accords in favour of the Ukrainian government.
Foreign Ministers of Germany and France, Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Jean-Marc Ayrault, respectively, will also be attending the meeting.
On Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry renewed its call to Western member countries enjoying influence over Ukrainian leaders to make them accept their commitments in the framework of the Minsk agreements.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, meanwhile, has made it clear that he will not proceed with the political part of the peace process without first ensuring security of the occupied territories.
This, he will consider restored only when months have passed without a single gunshot in the zone of conflict, and once control of the entire frontier has been recovered.
Russia and the separatists, on the other hand, demand these issues be resolved alongside the political agenda, which includes the grant of special self-governing status to rebel regions, constitutional reform for Ukraine’s decentralisation, and amnesty for pro-Russia fighters.