Normandy Quartet calls for withdrawal of artillery and heavy weapons below 100mm in Donbass

Foreign ministers from the Normandy Quartet countries have called on the trilateral Contact Group for Ukraine to agree a schedule for the withdrawal of weapons below a 100 mm caliber from the line of contact in Donbass, the chair of the Normandy format's ministerial meeting in Berlin said in a statement.

Foreign ministers from the Normandy Quartet countries have called on the trilateral Contact Group for Ukraine to agree a schedule for the withdrawal of weapons below a 100 mm caliber from the line of contact in Donbass, the chair of the Normandy format's ministerial meeting in Berlin said in a statement.

"We furthermore call for the withdrawal of mortars and heavy weapons below 100mm as well as all types of tanks. We call upon the Trilateral Contact Group in consultation with SMM (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Special Monitoring Mission) and JCCC (Joint Center for Control and Coordination) to agree on a relevant schedule," according to the statement.

"We also strongly call on the sides to be fully cooperative on the verification process," the document says.

At their meeting in Berlin, the foreign ministers of Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine also noted that "the situation remains tense because of numerous violations."

"In particular, we expressed our grave concern at the recent outbreak of fights over the last weekend, including the use of heavy weapons around Shyrokine and Donetsk Airport," the statement says.

"We call on all sides to stop fighting and demonstrate their commitment to fully implementing the ceasefire and conclude the withdrawal of heavy weapons definitely," the document says.

"We call on the participants to urgently finalize an operational concept on the working groups within the Trilateral Contact Group as soon as possible," the chair of the Normandy format's ministerial meeting said in a statement.

"We agree that the four working groups on security; political process; humanitarian issues; and economic affairs and rehabilitation must be launched as soon as possible," the document says.

"The immediate appointment of participants by the sides and agreement on working group coordinators will facilitate a quick start of the working groups," it says.

"We task our Deputy Foreign Ministers Political Directors to continue to oversee the implementation of the Minsk Package, with a strong emphasis on a quick launch of the Working Groups and our continued support to their activities, as well as on the sustainable improvement of the security situation," the statement says.

The ministers also supported the efforts of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Special Monitoring Mission to de-escalate tensions in the village of Shyrokine and near the Donetsk airport and called "on the sides to establish permanent and unfettered access to the SMM to implement its mandate and the Minsk agreements, and to continue and conclude the withdrawal of heavy weapons as soon as possible."

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