Venue of talks on Donbas does not matter – Klimkin
The venue of meetings of the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) for the settlement of the situation in eastern Ukraine does not matter for the achievement of results, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin has said.
"Calm down, the venue of the format does not really matter... Unfortunately, we are not moving forward in our process, because Russia does not want to fulfil any obligations, and the reason is very simple – they want to preserve occupied Donbas as a Russian colony," Klimkin said live on the Inter television channel late on Friday, January 19.
According to Klimkin, Minsk was chosen as a venue for negotiations of the Trilateral Contact Group due to "relative neutrality of Belarus" and good logistics.
"If it's Astana, then look where it is. Minsk or any other venue is absolutely not important," he said.
On January 18, 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump suggested relocating the talks on settling the conflict in eastern Ukraine from the Belarusian capital, Minsk, to another venue.
"We said that the 'Minsk-1' process is stalling, that it is in a deadlock, and that 'Minsk-2' is needed. He [Trump] said: 'Let's [hold the talks] in another place.' I said: 'Let's do it,'" Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said at a press conference in New York after a United Nations Security Council meeting on Thursday, January 18.
"Generally speaking, it should have taken place in Kazakhstan from the very beginning. I arranged trips in order to gather all parties so that they would meet there. We agreed that we would work on this matter," he added.
"In my opinion, the Minsk Agreements are facing a deadlock. Peacekeepers now need to be deployed to Donbas and Luhansk to determine the border. It is necessary to somehow narrow the gap between their positions and help them reach mutual understanding. This mutual understanding does not exist today," Nazarbayev said.