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 Political solution in Ukraine could take decades - German Foreign Minister

Frank-Walter Steinmeier stated that he was not exaggerating when he said it could take years or decades, or even longer, for a political solution to come about.

"If we are lucky, if we succeed in calming down the military situation, if we manage to bring about a political process, I don't exaggerate when I say (it) could take years or decades, or even longer, for a political solution to come about," Steinmeier said speaking at a public event in Brussels organised by Carnegie Europe, Censor.NET reports citing EurActiv.

Read also: If terrorists seize Mariupol, this would put paid to Minsk agreements - Steinmeier

Regarding EU relations with Russia, Steinmeier said everything depends on whether it will be "steering or disturbing the political processes, whether we will be able to restore the thrust that has been shattered and bring improvements in the relations with Russia".

EurActiv asked Steinmeier to comment on reports that the U.S. had decided to supply Ukraine with lethal weapons. According to media reports, both Democratic and Republican legislators have achieved consensus on arming Kyiv.

Steinmeier said that following his recent visit to the US, he would take such reports with a grain of salt.

"I just returned from my visit to the USA on Saturday (14 March), I spent three days in America, I had intense talks on the one hand side with the administration, but also I met with Republicans and Democrats alike. The attitudes are not as those described," Steinmeier said.

Read also: Almost everyone in Congress, Senate, Pentagon and US intelligence is in favor of providing weapons to Ukraine - Saakashvili

The German diplomat said that Secretary of State John Kerry had noted in their joint press conference that the position of the US government was to continue to monitor the process after the Minsk agreements and see whether there is progress, and that there was no decision on suppling lethal weapons.

Steinmeier was also asked to comment on conflicting reports about the military situation in eastern Ukraine, with the NATO military commander General Philip Breedlove saying that the situation is deteriorating, while the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) states that the cease fire is holding.

Read also: Terrorists shelled Ukrainian army positions 61 times Thursday - Joint Staff

The German minister did not criticise NATO, but his answer appeared to suggest that he put more stock in the OSCE findings.

"We are not talking about opinions here, we are talking about facts. We asked twice NATO, the reason being that our personnel on the ground, (the) OSCE, have provided us with rather different figures than the figures we have received from NATO, and this raised the issue how those diverging figures came about. Ten days after the Minsk agreement was signed, we had the impression, and it was confirmed by the OSCE figures, that violent acts have decreased, whereas the figures we received by Breedlove have given reason to believe that violence has increased significantly," Steinmeier said.

Read also: Terrorists concentrated 6,000 soldiers and 60 tanks near Horlivka, Donetsk region - InfoResist

 
 
 
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