Normandy Quartet foreign ministers call on conflicting parties in Ukraine to stop firing

The foreign ministers of the Normandy Quartet (France, Germany, Russia, and Ukraine) have called on all parties that signed the Minsk agreements on settling the crisis in Ukraine to meet within the next few days and discuss the ceasefire observance and the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the contact line, says a statement the parties adopted following a Wednesday meeting in Berlin.

The foreign ministers of the Normandy Quartet (France, Germany, Russia, and Ukraine) have called on all parties that signed the Minsk agreements on settling the crisis in Ukraine to meet within the next few days and discuss the ceasefire observance and the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the contact line, says a statement the parties adopted following a Wednesday meeting in Berlin.

"Ministers reiterate their support for the Trilateral Contact Group and call on all signatories of the Minsk agreements to meet in the coming days to implement the ceasefire and the withdrawal of heavy weapons in accordance with the line of contact," the statement says.

The four foreign ministers, i.e. Laurent Fabius, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Sergei Lavrov, and Pavlo Klimkin, also called "on all sides involved to cease hostilities and to withdraw heavy weapons in accordance with the Line of Contact as stipulated in the Annex to the Minsk Memorandum, September 19, 2014."

The ministers noted "with serious concern that their call for full respect of the regime of quiet has not been followed, and that, to the contrary, fighting in the Donbas area has severely escalated causing the loss of many human lives including civilians."

"This must stop immediately and the regime of quiet must be restored," the ministers said, calling on "all actors on the ground to fully respect it."

The four foreign ministers suggested that "tangible progress on the full implementation of the Minsk agreements must be achieved ahead of a planned summit meeting in Astana, in particular by the creation of the relevant conditions for an effective cease-fire, an agreement on modalities for the delivery of humanitarian aid and the continuation of the release of detainees."

Steinmeier said in commenting on the meeting's outcomes that "it depends on the parties involved in the conflict that this agreement should not remain just a plain sheet of paper."

"We count on this, and particularly Russia should use its influence for settling the conflict. We hope it will be put into practice," Steinmeier added. "If this happens, we'll be closer to a meeting in Astana," he said.

 

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