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German FM: Security measures must be in place for elections in Ukraine's south-east

Security must be in place before organizing and holding elections in the south-eastern Ukrainian self-proclaimed regions, Germany's top diplomat Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Monday.

"The Minsk agreements were devoted not only to the ceasefire, but to something more significant, as they are about the launching of a political process, which would eventually, as we hope, result in a political settlement of the conflict," Steinmeier said. "It also concerns preparations for the elections in [the south-east of] Ukraine, however, the necessary security conditions must be in place to hold them. We must guarantee such [security] conditions."

Foreign Ministers of Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine, which make up the so-called Normandy Four group on the resolution of the ongoing Ukrainian conflict, gathered in Berlin for talks to assess the progress in the implementation of the Minsk accords.

Steinmeier is receiving his counterparts Sergey Lavrov of Russia, Laurent Fabius of France and Pavlo Klimkin at the residence of the German Foreign Ministry in Berlin.

Minsk accords on Ukraine

The Belarusian capital of Minsk hosted on February 12 summit talks of Normandy Four leaders -- Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The over 16-hour marathon summit negotiations ended in a package of agreements, which in particular envisaged ceasefire between the Ukrainian conflicting sides starting from midnight on February 15.

Prior to the summit talks Minsk also hosted the meeting of the Contact Group on Ukraine involving Ukraine's ex-president Leonid Kuchma, Kiev's special representative for humanitarian issues Viktor Medvedchuk, the leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky, and Russia's ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov and OSCE's envoy Heidi Tagliavini, who both acted as mediators.

As a result of the meeting, it was announced that an agreement was reached on the ceasefire in certain districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the heavy weaponry pullout and measures on a long-term political settlement of the crisis.

[Source: Itar Tass, Berlin, 13Apr15]

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Ukraine Unrest
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