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Tripartite meeting holds on Ukraine crisis, regional economic ties

English.news.cn   2014-08-27 06:33:41

MINSK, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- Heads of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, the three states of the Customs Union (CU), plus Ukraine and representatives from the European Union (EU) met here Tuesday to discuss the Ukraine crisis and economic cooperation.

"Though the sides held radically opposite views on some issues, everybody agreed that a dialogue is necessary," Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said after the summit. "It is also necessary to de-escalate tensions (in eastern Ukraine), release hostages and avert humanitarian disaster."

The fact that the meeting took place means a success and is "a step in the right direction," Lukashenko said, adding that the meeting decided to make Minsk a floor for follow-up negotiations in the same format on settling the Ukraine crisis.

The participants also agreed that a group of experts should work out proposals supposed to remove the CU's concerns about the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement by Sept. 12, Lukashenko noted.

The EU was represented at the Summit by foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, Vice-President Gunther Oettinger who is responsible for energy, and Commissioner for Trade Karel de Gucht.

The most eye-catching event was the bilateral meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko after the summit. This is the first such meeting since the latter took office in May.

Agreement has been reached with Poroshenko on resumption of dialogue on energy between Russia and Ukraine, the Itar-Tass news agency quoted Putin as saying.

Many hoped the summit could facilitate a political settlement to the ongoing crisis, but no major breakthrough surfaced for the moment.

During the summit, Putin said the ongoing conflict in southeastern Ukraine cannot be solved by further escalation of the military scenario.

Noting that Kiev is ready to discuss "various options" to settle the crisis peacefully, Poroshenko invited the leaders to accept the peace plan he formulated in June, "the only possible instrument to stop bloodshed and ensure Donbas's post-conflict reconstruction."

Donbas is the local name given to eastern Ukraine, which has been the scene of a five-month-old conflict.

On economic ties, Putin said further cooperation between the CU and Ukraine would be unlikely to happen if Kiev materializes the Association Agreement with the EU. He warned that Russia would be forced to introduce protective measures once the agreement brings economic damages to Russia.

Poroshenko said Kiev is interested in continuing the economic dialogue in the troika format of Ukraine, the EU and the CU, which should be purely pragmatic and "without the use of political pressure."

The summit was held against the backdrop of EU and Russia imposing sanctions on each other over Ukraine crisis, which aroused fears that sanctions could extend to other important areas such as energy supply and plunge the overall Eurasian market into predicament. Enditem

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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