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Saturday, December 10, 2016

Putin comes to Berlin: meeting of the “Normandy Quartet” is fraught with unexpected results


A meeting of leaders “Norman Quartet”, which Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine are trying to negotiate with the middle of the summer, still will take place on Wednesday in Berlin. Since the work of helpers had no effect on the negotiations “at the top” seems to be the only, albeit very slim opportunity to restart stalled during the year, “the Minsk process”.

Dmitry Peskov said that although about specific agreements because of the position of Kiev is not necessary to speak, Vladimir Putin has agreed to meet to “compare notes”.


photo: AP

The first initiative meeting in “channel format” on the sidelines of the G20, China has made by Ukraine. It was a chance for Poroshenko to remind myself to world leaders, many of whom have already started to forget about the treachery of the Kremlin and to think seriously about the abolition of anti-Russian sanctions. Moscow at first enthusiastically supported Kiev’s proposal, but quickly realized what it was. Under the pretext of Ukrainian saboteurs to Crimea, the feasibility of meeting with Poroshenko in China was rejected.

The next chance for the “Normandy format” appeared in connection with preparing since the spring of 2016, Vladimir Putin’s visit to France. I must say that of all the members of the “Quartet” françois Hollande is the only one who, until recently, tolerably belonged to the Russian President and to the extent possible, sought to maintain informal dialogue.

However, the bombing of Aleppo, Syria, as well as starting in France’s presidential campaign, in which the card of “friend of Putin” will play Nicolas Sarkozy, Hollande was forced to change the rhetoric and go into the camp of “enemies”. After the offensive to the Kremlin, the statements of the French leader, Putin’s visit to Paris was cancelled, and with it was called into question already agreed on dinner, “Norman Quartet” on 19 October in Berlin.

Read the story “the Siege of Putin’s cancellation of a visit to Paris turned into a “public flogging”

In Moscow again started a song that the President will go to negotiations, if required would be prepared “soil”. “If agreements at the level of assistants are not achieved, then the meeting in the Normandy format at the highest level would be premature,” up until yesterday repeated like a mantra, Dmitry Peskov.

Meeting of the assistants of the leaders of the “Quartet” held on October 15-16 in Minsk. According to some, one of them also took part the assistant to the President Victoria Nuland, however, the U.S. Embassy will not confirm this information.

Whatever it was, the intervention of “Washington regional Committee” to progress failed. The negotiations assistants were unsuccessful, to coordinate the positions of Russia and Ukraine, which are completely different imagine the “road map” implementation of the Minsk agreements, once again failed. But because the other leaders of the Quartet continued to insist at the meeting “the summit”, the Kremlin was forced to agree. Otherwise, Russia could blame the failure of the negotiation process. “A year has passed. We’re going to “compare notes”, – explained to journalists, Dmitry Peskov.

He stressed that Moscow’s position has not changed: in Berlin, Putin would continue to insist on the inevitability of the Minsk agreements, in which it is recorded that after the cease-fire must begin the political process – the revised Constitution, Amnesty and held local elections in the DNI and LC. Only then, according to the Kremlin, it will be possible to begin to implement the last paragraph of the agreements providing for the closure of the border and restore control on the Ukrainian side.

In Kiev with such statement of a question, naturally, disagrees. They believe that the procedure prescribed by the “Minsk agreements” favorable to Putin. And Poroshenko was forced to sign under them as the result of foul play: when the “channel four” in 2014, met in Minsk, militia, on the orders of the Kremlin killed Ukrainian soldiers in Debaltsevo the pot. So now Kiev wants to negotiate a “road map” that establishes a different procedure of implementation of the agreements.

“A ceasefire, stop killing Ukrainian soldiers and civilians, the withdrawal of troops (which implies the closure of the border – “MK”), then the political process,” outlined the sequence of desired steps Ukraine on Tuesday, Poroshenko, noting that the adoption of such a “road map” to support Ukraine, France and Germany. According to him, the three countries will hold a separate meeting in Berlin before the beginning of the “Normandy format” to coordinate their positions and to encourage Russia to a meaningful dialogue.

A couple of months ago the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, being in Sochi, hinted that Petro Poroshenko is ready to compromise in the settlement of the situation in the South-East of Ukraine, but can not guarantee the implementation of agreements already reached. “He called me and said that it is impossible to adopt a law on the status of Donbass and other republics, because he has no majority in the Parliament”, – said the Kazakh leader, Vladimir Putin.

In the West, judging from the restrained statements from Berlin and Paris, apparently, also believe that to compromise in this situation should Moscow – otherwise, the “Minsk agreements” will remain not implemented, and the sanctions regime against Russia will continue. The EU has sent a clear signal to the Kremlin, refusing to raise the issue of the strengthening of sanctions because of the situation in Syria. If the negotiations in Berlin will be able to achieve at least some progress in Ukraine, Europe in the end of the year will have a real reason to declare the withdrawal or, at least, of mitigation established in 2014 restrictions.

The Kremlin is well aware of, so the meeting “Norman Quartet”, which is officially “no one waiting”, in fact, is not so hopeless as it seems.

Read the story “On Putin agreed to meet “channel four” was influenced by the death of Motorola”

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