Lavrov Urges Enforcement of Minsk II Agreement

The Russian Foreign Minister said he and the foreign ministers of Germany, France and Ukraine were unanimous in their believe that the Minsk II agreement is the only solution to the conflict.

Wed, Jun 24, 2015
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Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has reiterated the Russian position that the so-called “Minsk II agreement” on the Ukrainian crisis must be implemented if the conflict is to be resolved, TASS reported.

“The whole package of measures from February 12 remains in force,” Lavrov said on Wednesday, after talks with foreign ministers from the Normandy Quartet (France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine) in Paris.

The quartet's foreign ministers met late on Tuesday at the French Foreign Ministry to discuss how to implement the resolution to the Ukrainian crisis. Ukrainian government troops have been waging a stop-start campaign against separatist forces from the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the east of the country, ever since Kiev sent its military to crush pro-Russian protests there.

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The leaders of Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine previously agreed a deal, the Minsk II agreement, following talks in the Belarusian capital Minsk on February 11-12. That deal is supposed to see heavy weapons withdrawn from the frontlines of the conflict so that a lasting cease-fire can take hold. An official cease-fire went into effect on February 14, but sporadic clashes have still occurred.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Lavrov said it was vital to stabilize the situation in eastern Ukraine.

“We noted that, despite the necessity of progress, the goal of stabilizing the military situation and restoring security is of paramount importance,” he said, noting the recent upsurge in ceasefire violations.

Lavrov said that each of the foreign ministers in Paris agreed the Minsk accord is the only solution to the crisis in Ukraine, and that they were unanimous in their desire to implement the agreement.

“Many prefer a military, forceful scenario; many want the situation not to settle, but instead to escalate,” Lavrov said. “Today, I emphasize it bindingly, all four ministers stood firmly against such attempts and for Minsk II to remain as the basis of all our efforts.”

Lavrov said he was optimistic that the Normandy Quartet would be able to influence the warring factions in the conflict to abide by Minsk II and hold to the cease-fire.

“I do hope that we will take every step to force the sides in the conflict to stick to the Minsk agreement,” he said.

The United Nations says that over 6,500 people have died as a result of the Ukrainian conflict, while around 1.5 million are thought to have fled their homes.

Image credit: UN Geneva via flickr.com

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