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Kremlin: Normandy Four talks possible after Kiev implements Minsk accords

Another summit of the Normandy Four (Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine) leaders looks impossible until Kiev demonstrates its readiness to implement the Minsk agreements, Russian president's press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.

"Conditions [for holding such summit] could emerge only in case the Ukrainian side demonstrates readiness to take the steps that are clearly outlines in the Minsk agreements," he said. "So far, regrettably, we see no such readiness, so, a summit meeting is hardly ever possible as long as there are now visible perspectives of reaching any result."

"Naturally, all the Normandy Four countries would like to hold such a fruitful meeting," he added.

European mass media reported earlier that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande want to meet in Minsk with their Russian and Ukrainian counterparts, Vladimir Putin and Pyotr Poroshenko, to give a fresh impetus to the implementation of the Minsk agreements. The Germany government, according to the mass media, wants such a meeting to be held before a NATO summit in Warsaw due on July 8-9 to ease tensions in the West's relations with Russia.

Neither the German foreign ministry nor the press service of the German government has commented on these reports.

Misinterpretation of the Minsk accords

The Kremlin spokesman stressed the provisions of the Minsk peace agreements on Ukraine must not be interpreted in a wrong way.

Peskov rejected a suggestion that the statements of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Kremlin chief of staff Sergey Ivanov on fragile truce in Ukraine's southeast allegedly signal the possibility to recede from those provisions concerning ceasefire and weapons withdrawal.

"No one said about that," the Russian presidential spokesman stressed.

"The Minsk agreements are a platform for settlement that has no alternative and any misinterpretation can only lead to undermining them," he said.

OSCE presence in Donbass

According to Peskov, the issue of the presence of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) electoral mission in Donbass cannot be considered separately from organizing elections.

He said the monitoring mission on the separation line should be not confused with the electoral mission. "There is the electoral mission - it's another question," he said. "Certainly, it cannot be solved separately from the issue of elections in these territories, and you know, we so far have no progress on the election issue," Peskov added.

"The deployment of the OSCE monitoring mission on the line of disengagement is a separate question that requires settling many aspects through the OSCE and so on," the Kremlin official said.

Last Friday, at a plenary meeting of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he agreed with Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko that it was necessary to reinforce the OSCE mission, even allowing the OSCE mission observers to carry small arms. He noted, however, that some other things could be done for enhancing security. "But one cannot delay the solution of key political issues indefinitely saying that not everything has been settled in this area." He reiterated the call on the Ukrainian authorities to conduct as soon as possible the political reform that will form the basis of the final settlement in the sphere of security as well.

[Source: Itar Tass, St. Petersburg, 20Jun16]

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