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12 April 2024, 14:13

Lavrov comments on prospects for Ukraine peace talks 

MINSK, 12 April (BelTA) - Neither Kiev nor its masters show any desire to resume negotiations with Russia on a peaceful settlement, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters after a meeting of the CIS Foreign Ministers Council in Minsk, BelTA has learned. 

The minister explained that the day before the presidents of Belarus and Russia mentioned the Istanbul agreement but the matter was about the specific document with certain content. The draft agreement on Ukraine, which was prepared and initialed in Istanbul in March 2022, reflected completely different realities. "As far as I understand the presidents talked about the principles on which the dialogue should be conducted," Sergey Lavrov said.

These principles, according to him, are to realistically assess the situation, to take into account each other's legitimate interests and security in a broad sense, and then conclude agreements.

"Unfortunately, the principle when parties look for some mutually acceptable solutions, without outside interference, was undermined in Istanbul. After the parties initialed the document that reflected the realities at that time, the West, in the person of the then UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, intervened and forbade Zelensky to sign the final agreement and suggested continuing the war," the Russian foreign minister said. 

He believes that if Kiev persists being “agreement-incapable”, it will be difficult to imagine a situation when a peaceful settlement might be possible.

"Instead of direct dialogue without any ultimatums, the West is imposing the so-called Copenhagen process, planning a conference in Switzerland, where, it is explicitly stated, they want to formulate, finalize the infamous 10 points of [Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky's peace formula and then present it to Russia. That this is a road to nowhere, to put it mildly, is obvious to any normal political observer," Sergey Lavrov said.
"We do not see that Kiev or its masters are willing to negotiate in good faith," Sergey Lavrov said. 

The question to the Russian top diplomat was about the possibility of resuming negotiations on Ukraine peaceful settlement. The day before, this topic was raised during the meeting between the presidents of Belarus and Russia in Moscow.

"I absolutely support the position of the current Russian leadership and your position on the peace process. I absolutely support it: today everything is in place for sitting down and coming to an agreement," Aleksandr Lukashenko is convinced. “They don't want to. It's clear why they don't want to. Should people overseas want to talk about peace, their voice will be heard in Ukraine."  

The head of state recalled how the peace talks began: three rounds were held in Belarus, and the fourth one took place in Istanbul. Both countries came to certain agreements, drew up a draft but the negotiations were disrupted.

"They came and said to fight to the last Ukrainian!" Aleksandr Lukashenko said. He suggested returning to the Istanbul document. Vladimir Putin concurred with this point of view.

"I think, Vladimir Vladimirovich, that your initiatives for a peaceful settlement of the conflict will find a response in Ukraine. Strange as it may seem, in the military. Here I am ready to stand shoulder to shoulder with you and work in this direction," the Belarusian leader stressed. 

As it has been reported, during the talks Vladimir Putin said that Russia is ready for constructive negotiations but spoke against imposing any position that is not based on realities.
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