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Minsk agreement calls for Ukraine ceasefire

PR dla Zagranicy
John Beauchamp 12.02.2015 14:56
  • Minsk agreement calls for Ukraine ceasefire
An agreement has been reached in Minsk over a ceasefire in Ukraine, but does this really mean the end of the conflict in the Donbas?

As John Beauchamp reports, an agreement over a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine has been reached in the Belarusian capital of Minsk between the so-called ‘Normandy Four’ of Presidents Petro Poroshenko, Vladimir Putin, Francois Hollande and Chancellor Angela Merkel. The gruelling talks lasted through Wednesday night into Thursday morning. But will this ceasefire hold?

“We have to wait and see,” says Giles Merritt, the Secretary General of Brussels-based think-tank Friends of Europe, adding that “it seemed […] that the lesson of the September ceasefire was that it’s terribly difficult to prevent commanders in the field from trying to exploit the ceasefire in some sort of tactical way.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) talks with French President Francois Hollande (R) as they leave the Ukrainian peace negotiations in Minsk, Belarus, 12.02.2015.Photo: PAP/EPA/TATYANA ZENKOVICH / POOL

Before the Minsk summit got underway, there were voices this week concerning the Merkel-Hollande duet, and that the two heads of state should have been replaced by the top two leaders of the European Union: Council President Donald Tusk as well as High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini.

However, as Giles Merritt says, these two high-ranking politicans are not of the mettle needed to conduct such sensitive negotiations.

“If we had sent Mogherini and Tusk it would have looked like the European Union squeaking with one voice, not speaking […],” he says, adding that “the fact is that Tusk and Mogherini [...] don’t have a lot of credibility, they’re seen as the monkeys not the organ grinders”.

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