Ukraine, EU, Russia, US Strike Deal in Geneva

Politics » DIPLOMACY | April 18, 2014, Friday // 01:39
Bulgaria: Ukraine, EU, Russia, US Strike Deal in Geneva The EU's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton (L) and Russia's Foreign Minister (R) were among those who attended the talks in Geneva. Photo by EPA/BGNES

Participants in Geneva's four-way meeting have agreed on measures to wind down tensions in the east and south of Ukraine.

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsia, US and Russian counterparts John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov, and the EU High Representative on Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton found a common ground on Thursday and said military formations acting in the country must be dissolved.

They also said pro-Russian protesters occupying buildings across a number of eastern and southern cities must leave them.

An amnesty will be granted to the groups that Kiev describes as "separatists" if they comply with these demands.

More autonomy could also be assigned to areas with a significant number of Russian-speaking population. OSCE monitors are to de deployed in the regions of unrest to observe the process.

A joint statement was issued by participants in the Geneva talks and was later published online.

Thursday's document also calls for a national dialogue to be started in Ukraine comprising all groups living there, ITAR-TASS has reported.

It however condemns Kiev's recent decision to impose a ban on Russian citizens between 16 and 60 years old to enter the country.

The concrete steps approved at the talks "can be implemented immediately", as the BBC quoted the EU's Catherine Ashton as saying.

Deshchytsia declared that Kiev and Moscow had agreed to put "joint efforts to launch the process of de-escalation in eastern Ukraine."

Russia's top diplomat Lavrov once again stressed the need of constitutional reforms to ease tensions in Ukraine, but aknowledged that it was up to the country's leadership to deal with the situation.

US State Secretary John Kerry highlighted the "grotesque" turn of the situation, referring to reports that armed groups having overtaken control of Donetsk had ordered Jews in the city to register in accordance with their faith.

The four representatives were unanymous that their meeting was only the beginning of a political process leading to Ukraine's stabilization.

They also urged all sides in the conflict to refrain from violence.

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Tags: Russia, Ukraine, Kerry, Lavrov, Deshchytsia, Ashton, EU, unrest, Geneva, talks, separatists
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