The so-called ‘Normandy Four’ that consists of foreign ministers from Ukraine (Pavlo Klimkin), France (Laurent Fabius), Russia (Sergei Lavrov) and Germany (Frank-Walter Steinmeier) have met in Berlin on April 13, 2015.
Foreign ministers discussed a fragile ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine, a recent flare up in fighting after a period of relative calm, Russian aggression and violation of the Minsk agreements (February 12, 2015) by pro-Russian terrorists, specifically using weapons that were meant to have already been pulled back.
Germany’s foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier underlined:
“If this step by step process comes to a halt the implementation of the Minsk agreement will threaten to derail. But all sides have underlined tonight that they want to avoid that as all costs.”
1) The Foreign Ministers of France, Germany, the Russian Federation and Ukraine, met in Berlin today to discuss the way ahead on the ceasefire and the political process in order to implement the Minsk Agreements in their entirety. The Special Representative of the OSCE-CiO, Ambassador Tagliavini, and the Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission, Ambassador Apakan, were part of the larger meeting.
2) Regarding the implementation of the ceasefire, the situation remains tense because of numerous violations. In particular, we express our grave concern at the recent outbreak of fights over the last weekend, including the use of heavy weapons around Shyrokine and Donetsk Airport. We call on all sides to stop fighting and demonstrate their commitment to fully implementing the ceasefire and conclude the withdrawal of heavy weapons definitely. We furthermore call for the withdrawal of mortars and heavy weapons below 100mm as well as all types of tanks. We call upon the Trilateral Contact Group in consultation with SMM and JCCC to agree on a relevant schedule. We also strongly call on the sides to be fully cooperative on the verification process.
3) We express our strong support to efforts by the OSCE SMM in cooperation with JCCC to establish a permanent presence in areas that require constant monitoring with a view to a quick de-escalation of the situation. We support the current SMM activities in order to de-escalate the situation in the east of Mariupol (Shyrokine) and Donetsk Airport and call upon the parties to cooperate with SMM for that purpose. We reiterate our call on the sides to establish permanent and unfettered access to the SMM to implement its mandate and the Minsk Agreements, and to continue and conclude the withdrawal of heavy weapons as soon as possible, to be fully and transparently verified by the OSCE monitors.
4) We commend the activities of the Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Ambassador Heidi Tagliavini and the Chief Monitor of the OSCE-SMM, Ambassador Apakan. We call on the participants to urgently finalize an operational concept on the working groups within the Trilateral Contact Group as soon as possible. We agree that the four working groups on security; political process; humanitarian issues; and economic affairs and rehabilitation must be launched as soon as possible. The immediate appointment of participants by the sides and agreement on working group coordinators will facilitate a quick start of the working groups.
5) We task our Deputy Foreign Ministers/Political Directors to continue to oversee the implementation of the Minsk Package, with a strong emphasis on a quick launch of the Working Groups and our continued support to their activities, as well as on the sustainable improvement of the security situation. We remain committed to support the process whenever necessary.
Previously the so-called ‘Normandy Four’ met in Paris on February 24, 2015 and agreed on some technical aspects of the peace in Eastern Ukraine, talked about the cooperation with the OSCE, violations of the ceasefire in Donbas by pro-Russian terrorists.