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24 Dec 2014

Participants of Ukraine-Russia-OSCE contact group arrive in Minsk

MINSK, 24 December (BelTA) – Participants of negotiations within the framework of the contact group Ukraine-Russia-OSCE have arrived in Minsk, representatives of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry told BelTA.

The first meeting of the contact group involving representatives of the OSCE, Ukraine, Russia, and the self-declared people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk took place near Minsk on 31 July after Ukraine President Piotr Poroshenko contacted Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko with the relevant request.

A more serious stage of the negotiation process followed after that. On 26 August Minsk welcomed negotiations involving the presidents of the Customs Union (Belarus, Russia, and Kazakhstan), Ukraine, and high-ranking representatives of the European Union. Participants of the negotiations decided to hold meetings of the OSCE-Ukraine-Russia contact group in Minsk regularly.

The group gathered within quite a short period of time — on 1 September. The Ukrainian side and the self-declared republics exchanged documents stating their views on ways to settle the conflict. Several days later the contact group met in Minsk again. On 5 September participants of the Minsk meeting signed a document to cease fire in Ukraine’s southeast. All the sides spoke about Minsk as the venue for the meetings very positively.

The next meeting began on 19 September to end on the night of 20 September. As a result of the meeting the sides signed a memorandum to specify the terms of the conflict’s resolution.

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