Minsk hosting Ukraine-OSCE-Russia contact group meeting to settle conflict in eastern Ukraine

A tripartite meeting of the contact group to resolve the situation in the east of Ukraine is being held in Minsk on July 31, BelTA informs.

Minsk hosts consultations of the tripartite contact group (Ukraine-Russia-OSCE) to resolve the situation in the east of Ukraine with representatives of the self-proclaimed People's Republic of Donetsk.

The parties plan to discuss the granting of access to the crash site of the Malaysian Boeing to international experts in order to let them investigate the cause of the accident. The meeting participants are also going to discuss the starting of the process to free persons held by the conflicting parties.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov:
We have always advocated negotiations and welcomed any opportunity that could help us begin them.  In this sense we appreciate the proposal of the Republic of Belarus. Our western partners tried to impose sanctions against that country and alienate it form the Council of Europe and so on but when the “moment of truth” came Minsk appeared to be a good venue for everyone as a negotiating platform between the Ukrainian sides.
This confirms the reputation of Belarus in the international arena and proves that honest politics is approved even by those who dislike particular states or their leaders. We will welcome contacts and are thankful to our Belarusian counterparts for the fact that they help Ukrainians come to the negotiating table, which we have been trying to achieve…

The Contact Group is represented by ex-President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma, Russian Ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov and official representative of the OSCE on the settlement of the situation in Ukraine Heidi Tagliavini.

The parties have agreed the possibility of involving experts to work out the technical details of the issues discussed.

It was reported earlier that Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko addressed Belarus head of state Alexander Lukashenko regarding the holding of negotiations to resolve the Ukrainian crisis. The telephone conversation between the presidents took place on July 29.