The self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics accepted a proposal that the working subgroups of the Contact Group on Ukraine will be coordinated by the OSCE representatives during the first month, a joint statement of the republics’ negotiators said on Friday.
“We agree that OSCE representatives will become coordinators of the working subgroups of the Minsk Contact Group temporarily during the first month of their work,” the statement by Denis Pushilin (DPR) and Vladislav Deinego (LPR) reads.
Following the first month, the sides will decide whether the OSCE representatives should remain the coordinators or a rotation should be carried out if any problems arise or any new proposals are offered, the document says.
Ukraine’s envoy to the Contact Group, Leonid Kuchma, said earlier that the republics should respond to the proposal on appointing the OSCE representatives as the coordinators of the subgroups by May 1.
“We categorically insist that working subgroups should follow the principle of the Contact Group and be led and coordinated by representatives of the OSCE. But we have failed to reach an agreement, so we postponed this issue and DPR and LPR representatives are to give an answer tomorrow,” Kuchma’s press service quoted him as saying on Thursday.
A peace deal struck on February 12 in Minsk, Belarus, by the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France envisaged a ceasefire between Ukrainian forces and people’s militias starting from February 15, followed by withdrawal of heavy weapons from the contact line and also measures of political settlement, including setting up working subgroups.
These subgroups are to focus on four key areas, namely, on economic issues and restoration of facilities; on the affairs of refugees and internally displaced persons and humanitarian support; on political issues; and on security issues.
Contact Group to meet in Minsk in next 10 days
The meeting of the Contact Group on Ukraine is due to be held in the Belarusian capital Minsk in the coming 10 days, Denis Pushilin said on Friday.
“This will be a major meeting. The representatives of all the sides will take part in it,” Pushilin was quoted by the Donetsk news agency as saying.
The forthcoming talks will focus on launching the subgroups of the Contact Group, he said.
“Compromise decisions have been found on all the controversial issues. It is important now that this effort should follow to its logical end,” Pushilin said.
The envoy said he hopes nothing will hamper the plans of holding the meeting.