Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has announced preparations for a meeting of Normandy Four (Ukraine, Germany, France, and Russia) top diplomats that could be held in September, noting that the key to peace in Donbas is held in Moscow.
"We have begun our negotiations on the issue of the Normandy format, on the settlement of the armed conflict in Donbas," the minister said at a joint press conference with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in Kyiv on August 24, according to an UNIAN correspondent.
Kuleba expressed gratitude to the foreign ministers of Germany and France for supporting his proposal to hold a second meeting of the Normandy Four foreign ministers after the first one was held this spring.
"Now we are preparing for the next meeting, today we discussed ways to prepare for it. As of now, we have every reason to say that it will take place in a full-fledged quadrilateral format, and that the Russian foreign minister will join us," Kuleba said.
"Our colleague, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, is not putting forward any additional conditions to our September's ministerial... All four ministers are focused on one thing – to make sure that the meeting is meaningful," he said, adding that the parties should talk essence during negotiations rather than "drown the issue in diplomatic wording and conversations."
Progress in Donbas settlement is only possible, Kuleba says, if all elements of the negotiation process (the Trilateral Contact Group, foreign ministers, advisors to Normandy Four leaders, and N4 leaders themselves) engage.
The key to peace in Ukraine, the key to ending Russian aggression against Ukraine is in Moscow
"Over the past two months, you have seen tremendous progress at all these levels and efforts to take a step forward. The step was taken – this is a ceasefire regime, which, despite the fact that we record some fortification works from the other side, is maintained on principle, and zero casualties testifies to this," he said.
At the same time, Kuleba stressed that "the key to peace in Ukraine, the key to ending Russian aggression against Ukraine is in Moscow."
Kuleba said he was "encouraged" by the fact that, thanks to the involvement of Germany and France, the efforts of Ukraine, and "certain positive steps" on the part of Russia, the settlement process in Donbas has moved forward.
Read alsoDonbas special status may be put to referendum – lawmakerUkraine is determined to search for specific solutions to resolve the situation in Donbas, Kuleba said, adding that if Russia also has the same attitude, "the key (to will not just be found, it will turn, and the lock could open."
Normandy Four talks: background
On August 22, President Volodymyr Zelensky said that a meeting of advisors to the Normandy Four leaders would be held August 28, followed by a foreign ministers' meeting and a summit of N4 leaders.
The Kremlin announced the preparation of a meeting of aides to the Normandy format leaders.
Foreign Minister of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba has said the country is interested in preserving the Normandy-Minsk infrastructure on Donbas settlement