German FM says political process remains complicated
Talks between Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France produced several agreements aimed at improving security in eastern Ukraine but no deal on holding local elections in the separatist region controlled by Russia-backed militant forces, a top German diplomat said on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier who hosted the talks in Berlin, said the atmosphere was better than at their last meeting in Paris but acknowledged there had been no breakthrough.
"In the area of security, we made significant progress," he told reporters, citing a plan to separate military units along the front line and to create demilitarized zones. "There were proposals from both sides with concrete coordinates and deadlines."
FM #Steinmeier cont.: We made significant progress regarding security issues + agreed on concrete measures.— GermanForeignOffice (@GermanyDiplo) May 11, 2016
The parties also agreed to improve communications and to halt military training along the front lines to prevent any escalation of the conflict, he said, cautioning that the plans still have to be put into action.
Officials on Wednesday failed to agree on a proposal for how to stage local elections in eastern Ukraine, including whether those who fled the region would have a vote.
"These are questions of detail that might appear small, but they are important for creating the basis for local elections in Ukraine," Steinmeier said.
#Steinmeier: Political process remains complicated, esp. re. local elections. We will seek a compromise within trilateral contact group— GermanForeignOffice (@GermanyDiplo) May 11, 2016
"Security isn't everything in eastern Ukraine, but there can't be anything without security and so I'm quite satisfied with this part of the talks today," he added.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said security was the main priority but added it was tied to the issue of elections.
"We can't talk about elections without delivering security right now," Klimkin said.
Klimkin blamed Russia for rejecting a plan to let the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe oversee security for local elections in eastern Ukraine.