The talks in Minsk: agreement on a “road map” is stalling again

Переговоры в Минске: согласование "дорожной карты" снова буксует

Negotiations of foreign Ministers of “Normandy format” (Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine) Sergey Lavrov, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Jean-Marc Ayrault and Pavlo Klimkin in Minsk, which lasted more than three hours, as expected, breakthrough in resolving the situation in Donbas has brought.

Diplomats did not approve of the “road map” for the South-East of Ukraine. As Lavrov said that the Minsk agreement stalled, it is impossible to agree on sequence of steps. The Russian Minister said that the placement of armed OSCE mission in Ukraine “no one even thinks”.

Foreign Minister of Ukraine, in turn, said that the discussion on the road map was short-lived because of discrepancies in her principal issues. The Ministers agreed to resume the work of the economic groups of the contact group on Ukraine.

At a meeting held on 19 October in Berlin the meeting of the leaders of the “Normandy” Quartet of Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel, Petro Poroshenko and Francois Hollande, the decision was made before the end of November this year to develop a “road map” for implementation of the Minsk agreements, which would detail the actions of the parties.

Breakthrough is not observed again

The meeting was held in “President-hotel”, which traditionally takes the negotiations of the contact group on Ukraine. Before the meeting, the foreign Minister went out for a joint photo session, declined to comment to the press, then went into the conference room.

The Russian foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov took the place next to his French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault, on the contrary sat the Ministers of Germany and Ukraine. Negotiations are normally closed to the press “information hunger” of journalists from time to time quenched the only Ukrainian Minister Klimkin, in three hours he managed to publish a few messages in his microblog on Twitter.

It was expected that the Ministers will discuss progress on issues of security in the Donbass, humanitarian and economic problems, and promote a package of political reforms to resolve the crisis in the South-East of Ukraine. One of the main issues of the meeting could be an attempt to agree on a “road map” of the Donbas. In Moscow, however, previously expressed doubts that the document could be approved before the beginning of December, as agreed by the leaders of the “Norman format” at the last meeting in October in Berlin.

Released at the end of the meeting to journalists, Lavrov confirmed these fears. According to him, the Minsk agreement stalled at the working level cannot agree on the sequence of steps.

“At the working level do not get so far even to agree on a sequence of steps, especially in the security sphere and in the sphere of political reforms,” he said. So, the Minister said, no breakthroughs at the meeting in Minsk has not been reached.

“But at the same time I already consider positive the fact that the agreement of the leaders of October 19, not subject to doubt, as in the past, including by the Minsk agreements and the decisions taken a year ago in October last year in Paris,” — said the Russian foreign Minister.

One of the agreements of this meeting, according to Lavrov, was the fact that the economic subgroup of the contact group on Donbas, which had not met since August this year, should immediately restore their jobs.

“Today, we particularly drew attention to the fact that the economic subgroup of the contact group in which to address important issues such as water… blocked and Aug never been collected due to the lack of consent of the Ukrainian side with those representatives that were delegated by the Donbass”, — said the head of the Russian foreign Ministry.

“Today our General solution that this group in the economy should immediately its work to renew and resolve the issues on its agenda,” added the Minister.

Despite the lack of progress, the foreign Ministers of Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine have agreed to continue working at the level of ministries and within the framework of the contact group on Donbass.

There is no agreement on fundamental issues

The lack of significant results of the summit of heads was confirmed by the Ukrainian Minister Klimkin. However, he expressed the hope for progress in the humanitarian block at the end of the meeting.

“To talk about some of the promising results we unfortunately can’t,” Klimkin said at a briefing following the meeting of foreign Ministers “channel four”.

He added that it would be good if “will be able in the near future to solve humanitarian issues — to achieve access to the Donbass international humanitarian organizations and to make at least somehow productive negotiations about the exchange of prisoners”. According to Klimkin, Ukraine in the negotiations, said that he agreed with “any option” on the exchange of prisoners.

Klimkin also said that the discussion on the road map in the Donbas was very short, as the negotiators don’t agree on its fundamental issues.

“The discussion regarding the road map, unfortunately, was very short, as the Russian side does not agree on the key priorities we have… the Debate will continue in different formats,” he said.

Foreign Minister of Ukraine noted that today there is agreement on all fundamental issues of the road map.

That the resolution on Ukraine is still far from complete, was confirmed by the foreign Minister of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier after a meeting of foreign Ministers of “Norman Quartet.” He stated that the negotiations were difficult, but Germany and France will continue to pursue the implementation of the Minsk agreements.

While Steinmeier after the talks expressed optimism cart that Kiev and Moscow can start working on the withdrawal of troops of Ukraine and of the militia of the four areas.

The Minister of foreign Affairs of France Jean-Marc Ayrault said that the dialogue on the settlement of situation in Donbas is not interrupted, although it remains difficult.

“All items of the Minsk agreements must be in place. Have to do a huge amount of work. Even if dialogue remains difficult, it is not interrupted”, — quotes the words Ayrault Agence France-Presse.

The idea of the arms of the OSCE mission to all the ghostly

The head of the Russian foreign Ministry after the meeting said that currently about placing armed of the OSCE mission in Donbass “nobody even thinks”.

“This question is irrelevant, because no such need exists today no one talks about it. No paramilitary missions nor the OSCE, nor any other structure, which is periodically said in Kiev, — no one of them does not even think,” — said Lavrov.

At the summit, “Norman four” in Berlin on 19 October, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said was agreed to try to enter in the Donbass military OSCE mission, which will provide security. The Russian side noted that the negotiators agreed on the implementation of this proposal, but it needs to work, including within the OSCE framework. Russian Deputy foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said that the introduction of such a mission requires coordination with the DPR and LPR.

Save format

Meeting in the “Normandy format” can be considered as a success of Russian diplomacy, Deputy Director of the Center for Ukrainian and Belarusian studies at Moscow state University named after M. V. Lomonosov, member of the Council for interethnic relations under the RF President Bogdan Bezpalko.

Переговоры в Минске: согласование "дорожной карты" снова буксует
Lavrov said that the Minsk agreement stalled

“In this situation the main, in my opinion, is that the meeting took place that the format continues to exist. The field itself is the “Normandy format” as a possible compromise in talks in the future at this point remains. Now if you consider the fact that a number of Ukrainian politicians declare the need for a complete rejection of the Minsk agreements, from the “Norman format”, and the activity of Ukrainian saboteurs in the Crimea, the existence of “Norman format” can be considered a very great success of Russian diplomacy” — he said RIA Novosti.

According to the expert, if now the Russian side will come out of this format, “we will lose the site, and we will be more difficult to defend their point of view on the international level.”

“There will also be more difficult just to draw attention to violations of the Minsk agreements by the Ukrainian armed forces. So now the main task — save format, to try to gently put pressure on the Ukrainian side to admit the violations, which allowed Kiev”, — says Bezpalko.

Переговоры в Минске: согласование "дорожной карты" снова буксует