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8 Feb 2018

Minsk supports deploying peacekeepers in Donbass, engaging U.S. in talks

MINSK, 8 February (BelTA) – Official Minsk has reiterated its support for the deployment of a peacekeeping mission in Donbass and involvement of the United States in the talks on the settlement of the conflict in Ukraine, Belarus’ Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei said in an interview to the Russian newspaper Izvestia, BelTA learned from the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“We surely need to think about some extra steps and ways to help the parties move in the right direction,” the minister said.

Vladimir Makei stressed that Belarus maintains an unbiased and honest stance towards all the parties to the conflict. “We do not pursue any laurels. This conflict, however, is happening in our region, literally, in our family. Therefore, the deployment of peacekeepers, including Belarusian ones, in Donbass can be seen as an additional way to help the conflicting parties. Our president mentioned this in 2014, and we stand by that,” the minister stressed.

According to Vladimir Makei, the Belarusian head of state openly recommended to broaden the format of the talks, and include the seemingly "third parties" but in fact very interested stakeholders in the talks. The matter is, primarily, the United States.

“Perhaps there are other moments which it is too early to speak about in public,” the minister said.

Vladimir Makei stressed that there is no alternative to the peaceful settlement of the crisis in eastern Ukraine. Belarus has not changed its position since the very start of the conflict. “The Minsk agreements helped address the central task at the time, which was to stop the war, to end the bloodshed that was taking on a frightening scale. In those days the media reports felt more like front-line reports rather than news. Let all those who criticize Minsk-1 and Minsk-2 remember this. They should also keep in mind that the agreements reached in the Belarusian capital were approved by the UN Security Council. This means we have the fundamental recipe and the international legal framework to settle the conflict. They need to be followed. All the parties need to embark on the practical implementation of the Minsk agreements,” he said.

The Belarusian foreign minister said that the most prominent Soviet diplomat Andrei Gromyko, a native of Belarus, followed the principle of “ten years of negotiations are better than one day of war”. We are guided by this principle today. The Minsk venue will be available as long as the parties need it to resolve the conflict. I hope that the agreements on the largest exchange of prisoners, which were implemented in late 2017, will open the way to new compromises and solutions that are so much expected from the negotiators,” the minister added.


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