What agreed and not agreed at Normandy Four summit in Paris
The leaders of the Normandy Four nations (Russia, Germany, France, Ukraine) have finished their summit in Paris at night where they discussed ways of settling the Ukrainian crisis.
Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia, Emmanuel Macron of France, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Vladimir Zelensky of Ukraine held talks at the Elysee Palace. The joint communique includes three parts "Immediate measures to stabilize the situation in the conflict area", "Measures to implement the political provisions of the Minsk agreements" and 'Follow up."
Participants in the Normandy Four summit in Paris have reaffirmed their commitment to implementing a comprehensive ceasefire in Donbass by the end of 2019, according to a statement released by the Elysee Palace.
The four leaders pointed out that "they will support an agreement within the Trilateral Contact Group, within 30 days, on new crossing points along the line of contact, based primarily on humanitarian criteria." They also supported "the development and implementation of an updated demining plan."
"They will support an agreement within the Trilateral Contact Group on three additional disengagement areas, with the aim of disengaging forces and equipment by the end of March 2020," the statement added.
The leaders also "encourage the Trilateral Contact Group to facilitate the release and exchange of conflict-related detainees by the end of the year, based on the principle of "all for all", starting with ‘all identified for all identified,’ with the understanding that international organizations including the International Committee of the Red Cross be granted full and unconditional access to all detained persons. The leaders also consider it necessary to incorporate the "Steinmeier formula" into the Ukrainian legislation.
As a follow-up to the summit, the four leaders agree to have another meeting in this format within four months on the political and security conditions, inter alia for the organization of the local elections.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has described the work of Normandy Four leaders as "very useful." "In the end, I think, and we share this assessment, that this work was very useful," Putin told a press conference after the summit.
The Russian leader thanked the leaders for taking part in the talks. Putin has noted "a thaw" in the situation with settling the crisis in Ukraine. "First of all, a prisoner exchange took place. This happened. We have managed to achieve the disengagement of forces in three areas. This happened as well. We have met now in the Normandy format and discussed a wide range of issues, and achieved progress on many of those. This has happened as well," he stressed.
Putin said that Russia will do everything possible to contribute to the settlement process in Ukraine. "On its part, Russia will do everything to make contributions to this work," he said.
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said that Kiev is ready to implement the agreements reached at the summit, but noted that many issues remained open at the Paris summit. "Of course, there are still many issues that we have not resolved today, unfortunately," TASS cited him as saying,
Zelensky also said that federalization of Ukraine is impossible. "Ukraine is a unitary state," he noted, adding that elections in Donbass would only be possible under Ukrainian law and OSCE standards.
French President Emmanuel Macron said that the new summit in the Normandy format should be held in four months.
"We have discussed all the work that our diplomatic advisors, our foreign ministers need to complete in the next four months in order to ensure the settlement of the local conflict, so that we can hold a new summit in the Normandy format in four months," the French leader said.
"We are confident that this work on restoring peace and trust is very important," Macron stressed,noting the significance of the discussion that "has finally been held seriously in the last three years."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the outcome of the meeting gave renewed momentum on reviving a 2015 peace agreement for eastern Ukraine that has stalled. "I say very openly, we have a lot of work to do but my feeling from this meeting here today is that there is goodwill to resolve difficult questions," she noted.
Deputy director of the Institute of the CIS Vladimir Zharikhin, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that the Normandy Four summit was important in itself. "These talks in Paris restored the Normandy Four's influence on the Ukrainian crisis settlement, which has been lost over the past three years," he said.
"The really positive result of this summit was that the guarantor countries - Russia, Germany, France - clearly stated that they would not like Ukraine to revise the Minsk agreements and thus impede their implementation. The agreements on exchange of detainees, based on the principle of "all for all", on disengagement areas show that the process of resolving the crisis has been resumed," the deputy director of the Institute of the CIS added.
"Alas, we saw that there were no significant changes in Kiev's position, although it’s already good that Zelensky, who promised to raise the issue of Crimea, didn’t do this. By the way, in my opinion, "let's put Crimea aside" is the most important compromise. That is, only the Donbass issues are being dealt with," Vladimir Zharikhin concluded.