No breakthrough in Ukraine cease-fire talks

Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers fail to bridge differences on key political steps, says German FM

No breakthrough in Ukraine cease-fire talks

World Bulletin / News Desk

High-level talks for a cease-fire in eastern Ukraine made progress on security issues but could not bridge differences on political matters, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Wednesday.

After a four-party meeting with his Russian, Ukrainian, and French counterparts in Berlin, Steinmeier said their meeting yielded mixed results.

“We agreed that we must do everything in order to consolidate the cease-fire which has been adequately respected since the Orthodox Easter. For that goal we have agreed today on a number of concrete measures,” he said in a written statement after the talks.

Ukraine and pro-Russian separatist agreed two weeks ago to stop fighting during the Orthodox Easter and May holidays, and the truce was largely respected.

But Steinmeier underlined that deadlock remained on the key political issue of possible local elections in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

“Today, we could not achieve any substantial progress on the important questions of political process,” Steinmeier said.

“Without readiness for compromise on the part of the opposing parties, it will not be possible to go forward,” he added.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin stressed that making progress on security issues is a prerequisite for possible local elections in eastern regions.

“We cannot talk about elections without delivering security right now,” he told reporters after the talks. 

He blamed Russia for the failure to reach an agreement on the political issues.

“Unfortunately on the critical issues which are so important for moving the Minsk process further, we were unable to sort them out. Of course [this is] because of the Russian position, because of the Russian unwillingness or unreadiness to come up with electoral modalities on the basis of Ukrainian legislation and on the basis of OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe] standards,” he said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, on the other hand, argued that Ukraine’s position was blocking further progress in the talks.

“Any issues related to elections need to be resolved in direct dialogue between Kiev and Donetsk and Luhansk,” he told reporters after the meeting.

“Regrettably we do not see any major desire on the part of Kiev to engage in this dialogue,” he added.

Germany, together with France, have been playing a mediator role in resolving the conflict in eastern Ukraine since fighting broke out in April 2014. 

The conflicting parties agreed last year in Minsk on a comprehensive cease-fire deal. but the agreement has had little effect on the conflict.

The escalation of fights last month led to concerns on the future of the Minsk cease-fire.

More than 9,300 people have been killed in the last two years in eastern Ukraine, according to the UN.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 12 Mayıs 2016, 09:01