10 Dec 2019 13:19

Normandy-format talks in Paris unfreeze, relaunch peace process in Donbas - Duma's Slutsky

MOSCOW. Dec 10 (Interfax) - The main result of the Normandy-format summit in Paris on December 9 is the fact that the peace process in Donbas has been unfrozen and relaunched, Russian State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Leonid Slutsky told journalists on Tuesday.

"The outcomes of the Normandy-format summit in Paris have surpassed expectations. It would be safe to say that the negotiations, which lasted over seven hours in all, have unblocked and relaunched the peace process in Donbas," Slutsky said.

The important outcomes of the summit include the signature of agreements on the Steinmeier formula's incorporation into Ukrainian law, on a swap of people held by Kyiv, Donetsk, and Luhansk based on the all-for-all principle before the end of the year, and on a ceasefire, he said.

"In my view, the most important thing is that the Normandy-format leaders have reaffirmed their commitment to the Minsk Agreements. There can be no alternative to Minsk 2, and its dismantlement just to please Ukrainian nationalists cannot be allowed," Slutsky said.

It is natural that the summit did not see "a radical breakthrough, which could not have happened," he said.

"President Zelensky is talking about a draw. But it would be clear whether this is a draw or not only from the continued settlement process in southeastern Ukraine and the existence of political will in the new leadership in Kyiv," Slutsky said.

It is important for everyone to prevent the situation and the people's condition from worsening and to make sure that peace comes to the homes of the Donbas residents, he said.

"The continuation of a dialogue is a result that's just as important. The next summit will be held in Berlin in four months. This can indeed be called real progress after more than three years during which the Normandy format was frozen," Slutsky said.