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Friday, November 17, 2017

Talks in Belgrade: how to make peacekeepers not turned into the police


The Russian presidential aide Vladislav Surkov and the US special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker for the third time met on 13 November in Belgrade. According to the press Secretary of Russian President Dmitry Peskov, one of the Central themes of the negotiations is the UN peacekeeping mission in the Donbas. “MK” has found out whether the Serbian air American and Russian diplomats to find a compromise.


Donbass is waiting for peacekeepers, but not 20 thousand.

On the eve of negotiations Volcker noted that is configured for the detailed and serious conversation with Surkov. However, he stressed that earlier Moscow in the framework of the UN resolution proposed a vision for a peacekeeping mission in the Donbas and now Washington negotiates this option, with France, Germany and Ukraine, makes to it changes and so on, then again to show the document of Russia. Thus, on 13 November Surkov had to see an updated version of the peace initiatives.

However, Walker explained that the parties still have to spend a lot of time at the negotiating table, to be able to talk about a unified approach to this issue. The next meeting was to give the process more concrete.

A few days before the visit to Belgrade, the U.S. diplomat said that Russia is experiencing, as the peacekeeping mission will affect the Minsk agreements, the Normandy format and the observation mission of the OSCE. With regard to the coverage of the “blue helmets”, by protecting the observers, they will actually be able to move across the territory of Donetsk and Lugansk regions, including the self-proclaimed DND and LNR, and to control the Russian-Ukrainian border in the conflict zone, said Walker.

However, the United States insists on the 20-strong contingent of UN peacekeepers. Moscow believes that a number of soldiers more like the occupation of the region and the location of the borders of Russia’s military base in the West.

Anyway, Walker argues that the negotiations there is some positive dynamics, the Kremlin and the White house find common ground. In particular, the United States asked Ukraine to postpone the introduction of the UN security Council’s own resolution on the peacekeepers, not to introduce confusion.

However, in Kiev to the request of the Americans taken seriously enough. The Minister of foreign Affairs of the Republic on 11 November said that his country is in fact already developed its proposal for the deployment of “blue helmets” in the Donbass, and even agreed with the US, France and Germany. The Secretary of security Council of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov scare their fellow citizens by some Russian troops, who came to the Ukrainian border to “disguise” in the peacekeepers.

On how to pass the Volcker talks with Surkov, and is a compromise possible, “MK” said Vladimir ZHARIKHIN, Deputy head of the Institute of CIS countries:

— Surkov must insist on the position of Vladimir Putin: peacekeepers must be placed on the frontline of Ukraine DND and LNR, and also to allow them the support of the OSCE observation mission. In this issue, for concessions there is no reason, because the “blue helmets” to prevent the resumption of hostilities, and not to perform police functions, as this, apparently, requires the United States. Not accidentally, despite all the statements of the Volcker about the successful negotiations no real progress in them is not observed. Moreover, the breakthrough must be the climate at least a minimum of trust. Yet, judging by the failed meeting between Putin and U.S. President Donald trump, this may not be considered.

With regard to the specific proposals, the “blue helmets” should be significantly less than 20 thousand people, and they don’t have to do anything except protect observers and prevent the resumption of war. In this peacekeeping mission shall be formed from the armed forces of Russia and NATO countries. This can be, for example, Kazakhstan and Belarus.

However, the statement of foreign Minister of Ukraine Klimkin says that if Moscow and Washington can still find a compromise, Kiev will submit to the UN security Council its resolution on peacekeepers and thereby negate the whole negotiation process. Because Ukraine is the party which is not beneficial at all no compromise — only the physical destruction of all supporters of DNR and LNR.

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