European leaders demand full implementation of Minsk deal

European leaders from France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine agree that Minsk peace deal for Ukraine must be fully implemented next year

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

French President, Francois Hollande, German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, Russian President, Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko attend a meeting in Paris, France, October 2, 2015.

Leaders from France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine agreed in a phone call on Wednesday that the Minsk peace deal for Ukraine must be fully implemented next year, the German government said in a statement.

The statement from deputy government spokeswoman Christiane Wirtz also said that during the phone call the four leaders emphasised the importance of adhering to the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine and withdrawing heavy weapons from the region.

"The coming days should be used to consolidate the ceasefire," the statement said. The foreign ministers also agreed to meet in late January or early February to review progress in the peace process.

The four countries last February agreed on a ceasefire to end the conflict between the Ukrainian Government and pro-Russian rebels in the eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, following talks in the Belarusian capital of Minsk.

The ceasefire orders the withdrawal of weapons of over 100 mm calibre from the frontline.

Although the truce has faced obstacles because of violations from the both sides, there have been signs of progress as the controversial election in eastern Ukraine, which was supposed to be held on Oct 18 and Nov 1, was postponed until next year to assure the legitimacy and the security of the Minsk process.

The decision to delay elections came just after a meeting between the leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine in Paris to discuss the situation in eastern Ukraine.

The conflict in eastern Ukraine started in April 2014 after protests led to ousting of then Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich and pro-Russian rebels in the east declared the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk.

According to the UN an estimated 8,000 people have been killed in the violence so far, while 2 million others have been forced to flee their homes.

TRTWorld and agencies