This year’s first joint visit of foreign Ministers of France and Germany Jean-Marc Ayrault and Frank-Walter Steimeier in Kiev began on 22 February. They met with the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko. On Tuesday, the Ministers held talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Pavel Klimkin. They have also scheduled meetings with Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Verkhovna Rada Chairman Volodymyr Groisman.
To agree on the election
France and Germany along with Ukraine and Russia are included in the “channel four” in Minsk agreement on the settlement of the conflict in the South-East of Ukraine. Moscow criticises Kiev for delay in implementation of the political part of the agreements, the drafting of the constitutional amendments, the adoption of the law on elections in the Donbass and Amnesty.
The security situation in the Donbas should not be used as an excuse for lack of preparation of the electoral law, said Tuesday at a press conference Steinmeier. According to him, it is necessary to work on the electoral law and the modalities of their conduct. He stressed that in Europe follow the sequence of points of the Minsk agreements. “None of the aspects of the Minsk agreements has not lost its relevance… We follow closely the sequence in which individual steps are carried out the Minsk arrangements”, — he said (quoted by “Interfax”).
Ukrainian officials have repeatedly said that to begin the political process necessary to close the border between Russia and Ukraine. Remind Russian officials in response to that point about the border is at the end of the list, and its closure must be preceded by political changes.
Election of Ministers discussed with the President of Ukraine. Poroshenko stressed the importance of tolerance of observers of the OSCE special monitoring mission to all parts of the occupied territories, including in the Russian-Ukrainian border.
The interlocutors discussed the possibility of placing in the Donbass international mission security as an important condition of preparation for the holding of local elections in accordance with Ukrainian legislation and on the basis of the OSCE principles (narrated the content of the conversation, the press service of the President of Ukraine). Russia and DPR and LPR representatives have repeatedly opposed the appearance of additional observers on site.
Time for the beginning of March
Steimeier and Eero urged negotiators to use the time until 3 March, when there will be another meeting of foreign Ministers “channel four”, for finding compromises. “I think during the meeting in Paris we will reach certain necessary compromises, and we will agree on a joint position, and can overcome all the ditches that we still share,” said Minister of Germany.
Local elections in the territory of the unrecognized republics — a stumbling block in the peace settlement. Disputes over the electoral system, the right to participation in elections of Ukrainian political parties, the activities of the Ukrainian media, the organization of the voting process and voting by internally displaced persons.
On Saturday, the authorities of the self-proclaimed Luhansk people’s Republic announced the postponement of elections from February 21 to April 24.
The head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk national Republic Alexander Zakharchenko admitted that the elections will be held next year at the earliest. “Ukraine has changed, though enforced by the Constitution, postponed consideration to the next session — August, September. Then three months to prepare the elections, and it’s already December 31. No one on New year holds elections, that is elections for 2017. But Ukraine elections on our territory unprofitable,” — said Zakharchenko (quoted by “Interfax”).
The words Zakharchenko about a possible postponement of the elections for 2017 hypothetical — so it “whips” the Kiev to perform Minsk agreements, said a source close to the leadership of the breakaway republics. Zakharchenko argues on the basis of practice of work of the Verkhovna Rada, says Sobesednik .
To support reforms
Trip Eero and Steinmeier followed political crisis, the acute phase which resolved last week. Then the Parliament declared unsatisfactory work of the government, but at the time of voting votes for government resignation of Premier Yatseniuk is not enough.
This triggered an exit from ruling coalition factions “Batkivshina” and “Self-help”. The crisis led to criticism from the Western partners of Ukraine, pointing to the need for reform, which the people demanded during the events of the Revolution of dignity.
In support of the reform spoke during his visit to Kiev the Ministers. In a joint column in the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung they indicated that “in response to our solidarity and support we expect a clear commitment of political forces in Ukraine to continue the course of reform <…> In this sense, Ukraine has signed with the international community, the Pact for the future”.