Painstaking work on the details of a political solution

29-11-2016, 17:11 | Comments: 0
Painstaking work on the details of a political solutionDuring the government press conference on Monday, federal government spokesperson Steffen Seibert pointed out that the Chancellor, the Federal Foreign Minister and the government’s political advisors are working flat out with undiminished vigour "to put in place the conditions that will enable progress to be made".

Sanctions remain on the agenda

The Minsk agreements themselves make no mention of sanctions. "But there is a clear political link, which is seen at international and European level by all actors," stressed Steffen Seibert. This was discussed again last Friday at the six leaders’ meeting. In Berlin Chancellor Angela Merkel met with American President Barack Obama, French President François Hollande and the Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom, Italy and Spain to discuss critical foreign policy matters. There is a clear link, said the government spokesperson, "between Russia’s complete implementation of the Minsk package of measures and the lifting of sanctions".

Federal Foreign Office spokesperson Martin Schäfer added that the road map agreed in Berlin serves to bring together the diverse interpretations of the Minsk agreements. The Minsk agreements lay out a road map, that explains how steps to de-escalate the security situation on the ground and prepare for elections, as well as steps in the political process in Kyiv are to be implemented.

Intensive work on the road map

Martin Schäfer explained that the work on the road map, agreed at the last Normandy format summit meeting in October in Berlin, is "extremely painstaking" and that progress is relatively sluggish. "Sometimes there are steps forward, sometimes – unfortunately almost as frequently – there are setbacks."

Even since the Normandy format meeting on 20 October in Berlin, it has been noted that the number of ceasefire violations at the contact line has risen significantly. There is "absolutely no reason to believe that the crisis has been finally overcome," said Martin Schäfer frankly. That is why it is obvious that the German government will remain "on the ball" with its French partners, he said. This will include a meeting of the four ministers of foreign affairs "in the foreseeable future".

With a view to the possibility of arming the OSCE monitoring mission in Ukraine, a great deal of work still needs to be done before the OSCE Ministerial Council meeting on 8/9 December in Hamburg. Both Russia and Ukraine must offer the German OSCE Chairmanship "constructive proposals" for a paper that can be adopted.

No progress apparent

Last Friday (18 November) the Chancellor complained that no progress can be seen on the Minsk process. Indeed quite the reverse is true – the security situation has not improved over the last few weeks, said Angela Merkel. "Nevertheless we will continue to work and decide how to proceed when the time is right. But from what we can see at the moment, there is not enough progress on the Minsk process," stressed the Chancellor.

bundesregierung.de

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