TCG's Consultative Council should become technical tool with advisory functions - Zelensky
KYIV. April 6 (Interfax) - The idea of setting up a Consultative Council within the framework of the political subgroup of the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) for settling the Donbas conflict in Minsk, which was reported following the TCG meeting on March 11, 2020, envisions that this council shall serve as a technical tool with advisory functions, and its establishment must be coordinated with Ukraine's Normandy-format partners, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said.
"The Consultative Council is supposed to become a technical tool with advisory functions within the TCG political subgroup to discuss the abovementioned matters [consultations and coordination of some issues with representatives of the self-proclaimed Donbas republics] involving Ukrainian citizens, both internally displaced persons and Ukrainians living in the temporarily occupied territories," Zelensky said in reply to a petition on his official website dated March 16, which demands that he annul the signatures by Ukraine's representative to the TCG Leonid Kuchma and chief of the presidential office Andriy Yermak on that protocol.
Additionally, the establishment of the Consultative Council is to be substantively considered together with Ukraine's Normandy-format partners, he said.
As was reported, chief of the Ukrainian presidential office Andriy Yermak and deputy head of the Russian Presidential Executive Office Dmitry Kozak attended that meeting.
Kyiv reported that the parties reached agreement on an exchange of prisoners, disengagement, the opening of checkpoints simultaneously in Zolote and Shchastya, and the institution of the Consultative Council.
The TCG decided to institute the Consultative Council within the TCG's political subgroup. The decision was formalized following consultations with representatives of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, France, and Germany on the implementation of agreements reached at the Normandy-format summit in Paris on December 9, 2019.
Zelensky said in his reply to the petition that the protocol signed following the TCG meeting on March 11, 2020 was part of the routine work toward the implementation of the Package of Measures of the Minsk Agreements of February 12, 2015 and other documents making up this package.
Clauses 9, 11, and 12 of this Package of Measures envision the organization of consultations and coordination of a number of measures within the TCG with representatives of the self-proclaimed Donbas republics, including the restoration of Ukraine's control over the border, local elections and a constitutional reform.
"Clause 7 of the protocol following the TCG consultations regarding joint steps toward the implementation of the Peace Plan by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and the initiatives by Russian President Vladimir Putin of September 5, 2014 envisions the continuation of an inclusive nationwide dialogue," Zelensky said in his reply to the petition.
The protocol of the TCG meeting of March 11, 2020 "stipulates the intention to set up a mechanism of the practical organization of such consultations," he said.
The TCG's composition is clearly defined in the preambles to the protocol on the outcomes of the TCG consultations on joint steps aimed at the implementation of Poroshenko's Peace Plan and Putin's initiatives of September 5, 2014 and the memorandum on the implementation of the protocol of the TCG consultations on steps aimed at the implementation of Poroshenko's Peace Plan and Putin's initiatives of September 19, 2014, Zelensky said.
"The representatives invited from the temporarily occupied territories in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine may be engaged in discussions on the TCG forum and in its working subgroups, including any consultative mechanisms, exclusively in the event of a consensus in the trilateral format between Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE," Zelensky said.