Former Ukrainian President and Ukraine's representative to the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) at the Minsk talks on Donbas Leonid Kuchma has said it's up to the Normandy Four leaders to take an agreed decision on the so-called "Steinmeier formula," which is being discussed in Minsk at meetings of the TCG political subgroup.
"You know, the decision on the 'Steinmeier formula' should be made by the Normandy Four," he said, when asked by journalists about the nuances of discussion of the "Steinmeier formula," according to an UNIAN correspondent.
According to Kuchma, the TCG only does discussions, rather than makes a final decision. "We can only offer recommendations, so to speak," Kuchma said.
At the same time, according to him, there are certain points regarding the "Steinmeier formula," which can be agreed on, as well as those that are beyond the red line.
In particular, Kuchma said there were ongoing discussions about the elections in the occupied part of Donbas. "What kind of election would it be if people are walking around with weapons? Elections could be held once the troops leave Ukraine and when military hardware are withdrawn, when Ukrainian authorities have come back there, and when journalists are able to come," he said.
According to Kuchma, it is necessary to seek compromises, but not at the expense of the interests of Ukraine.
"And today everyone wants to resolve this problem quickly," Kuchma said, noting that he sees this in the moves of French President Emmanuel Macron. "But we don't really see it being in the interests of Ukraine, by and large," he said.
According to Kuchma, it is necessary to finally learn about the position of all participants in the Normandy format.
"We aren't aware of their position. Because there is the position of the Kremlin, and the position of Macron, and the position of Germany, and even more, there is a position that everyone listens to – that of U.S. Representative Kurt Volker," the former president said.
Kuchma reiterated the Normandy Four last met in October 2016.
"Over this period, what is their opinion on further developments in Ukraine? We see they haven't had a will to really resolve this issue," he said.
As UNIAN reported earlier, on Dec 21, 2016, German Ambassador to Ukraine Ernst Reichel said that the so-called "Steinmeier formula" provides for the consolidation in the Ukrainian legislation of the special status of Donbas.
"This formula, which is the subject of discussion, provides that local elections will be held under the control and with the assistance of the OSCE. Then the OSCE must confirm that the elections were in line with international standards. If the OSCE confirms this, legislation on special status comes into force; if not, then it doesn't. There will be no special status for this territory," Reichel said.
On July 4, 2017, Reichel stated that a ceasefire and the withdrawal of heavy weapons in Donetsk and Luhansk regions should precede the holding of local elections, which should lead to the beginning of a special procedure for launching a local government in Donbas.
On June 18, 2018, the then-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Pavlo Klimkin, said that the "Steinmeier formula" was the logic of how the special regime of local government was to be applied.