Ukraine Crises and Minsk meeting on Wednesday: Meeting only possible if Ukraine agrees for demilitarized zone between Eastern Ukraine region and Kiev controlled region
By Galina Sartov
A Joint telephone call among Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande has created hopes for a ‘Normandy Four’ meeting in Minsk by or on Wednesday but Russian media indicates that meeting is only possible if Ukraine is ready to accept “certain points”.
German government has officially released a statement indicating meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande is possible by Wednesday. The statement was released after Sunday joint telephone call. German government statement says:
“In [the joint telephone call] they worked further on a package of measures in the context of their efforts on a comprehensive settlement of the conflict in eastern Ukraine”.
German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said conversations among all parties will be continued tomorrow (Monday) in Berlin with the goal of holding a ‘Normandy Format’ summit on Wednesday in Minsk”. He further said that all signatories of last year’s Minsk deal, including representatives of the OSCE, Russia and Ukraine and rebel forces would join the meeting in Minsk.
Meanwhile the Russian President Vladimir Putin said to Russia media that the meeting will take place “if by then we manage to agree our positions, which we have been discussing very intensively in recent days.”
Meanwhile Press department of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko confirmed such meeting stating that Ukraine, France, Germany and Russia hope the talks will lead to “a swift and unconditional” ceasefire on both sides.
International political observers are giving extra importance to initiative taken by Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Francois Hollande who had surprise visit to Ukraine and Russia to resolve the Ukraine issue peacefully at a time when NATO Chief and United States are opening talking about war and US Secretary of State John Kerry was in Kiev offering weapons supplies to Ukrainian government troops. Political analysts believe the dispute inside the US-EU leadership on whether to arm Ukraine could actually trigger the Franco-German peace initiative, because Europe is reluctant to have a full-blown war on its doorstep.
The details of the Franco-German peace initiative have not been disclosed, though Francois Hollande said on Saturday the Franco-German peace initiative would feature a 50- to 70-kilometer demilitarized zone on each side of the current line dividing militia-held and Kiev-controlled territories.
He also suggests Kiev to grant East Ukraine more powers and called for “quite strong” autonomy for Eastern regions of Ukraine while speaking on France 2 TV. On Saturday, Hollande said that the eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Lugansk need “rather strong” autonomy from Kiev.
“These people (Eastern Ukrainian and Kiev backed government) have gone to war. It will be difficult to make them share a common life”, commented Hollande.