Experts evaluate the results of the negotiations between the advisers of the Normandy Four leaders
The meeting of the advisers of the Normandy Four leaders in Paris lasted eight hours instead of the planned three. The result of the negotiations was the agreement of the parties on the need to observe a truce in the south-east of Ukraine. Dmitry Kozak, deputy head of the presidential administration of Russia, said that specific measures to resolve the conflict would be worked out at a second meeting in two weeks in Berlin.
As Kozak said at a press conference on the talks, the conversation was not easy and was more like an “inventory of different readings of the Minsk agreements.” The parties came to the conclusion that the existing disagreements do not contribute to the settlement of the conflict in the east of Ukraine, and they must be corrected. Until this happens, the truce under the agreement of July 22, 2020 must be respected. “These are all the results of our 8-hour difficult discussions that fit on half a page of printed text,” — noted Kozak.
The representative from Kiev, head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak, also noted the existence of controversial issues, but announced the agreement on the final communiqué, which was the first since December 2019. Kozak did not mention anything about this in his statement.
As noted in a conversation with “MK” Denis Denisov, head of the Institute for Peace Initiatives and Conflict Studies, said that the positive aspect of this meeting is that it took place at all. “The process is unblocked, which can lead to the productive part if the parties seek a compromise. The fact that the next meeting is scheduled says a lot. If at this meeting there was a “synchronization of clocks”, all the problems that hinder the positive progress of the negotiations were understood and discussed in detail, then the situation looks quite realistic that in a week political decisions can be made that will help relieve tensions around the region and implement the agreements that have already been subscribed.
First of all, these are the Minsk agreements, agreements related to a sustainable ceasefire on the line of contact, as well as decisions taken at the last summit of the Normandy Four leaders, — explained the expert.
Throughout the existence of the conflict, the main contradiction in the negotiations has been Kiev's refusal to consider Donetsk and Luhansk as parties to the conflict and to conduct direct dialogue with them. Both the team of the former president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, and the team of the current ruler, Volodymyr Zelensky, insist that this is not an internal war, but a war with Russia, which means that Moscow must comply with the Minsk agreements.
At the same time, according to Kozak, Donetsk is actively trying to participate in the process in order to achieve the implementation of the Minsk agreements: it proposes draft laws, initiatives for the exchange of prisoners, open checkpoints, but all initiatives face resistance, “only because they come from Donbass.” . He tried to convince Kiev to at least consider the written proposals of the self-proclaimed republics, which “Donbass submitted to the contact group”, but he failed to convince Ukraine.
As explained by “MK” Rodion Miroshnik, representative of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic in the political subgroup for the settlement of the conflict in Donbass, the key issues that the TCG member has been struggling with for several years – it is a road map, which includes, among other things, the procedure for holding local elections, as well as the “coordination mechanism for a ceasefire.” He suggested that Kozak could have been talking about these moments.
“Negotiations stalled after Ukraine unilaterally adopted a resolution of the Verkhovna Rada on holding local elections, which contains provisions that do not correspond to 4 out of 13 points of the “Package of Measures.” After several months of wrangling, it was agreed that a kind of “road map” would be drawn up, which would define a step-by-step procedure for action. It will be agreed by all parties, including adopted in the form of a resolution of the Verkhovna Rada. Two months ago, we proposed our own version, which is in line with the Minsk agreements, but the Ukrainian side, under one pretext or another, refuses to consider its provisions, — said Miroshnik.
According to him, for all the time, representatives of the LDNR submitted more than 20 documents for consideration by the TCG, but most of them were either ignored or refused to be considered. This also applies to “additional measures for a sustainable ceasefire.” “They include telephone or other coordination between representatives of the Joint Center for Control and Coordination of the Ceasefire (JCCC) on both sides. There is a person from Ukraine, there is a person from Donetsk and Lugansk, and there must be communication between them in case the ceasefire is violated. If this kind of thing arises, then there should be a mechanism for fixing the violation, indicating: who did it, video, photo, and conclusions of the joint inspection. Now this document is only in the form of a draft, submitted by our side,” — said Miroshnik.
turned out to be completely empty, and in fact, they only “agreed to negotiate.” “The discrepancies in the Minsk agreements have not gone away, and I do not see how they can be smoothed out,” — said the expert.