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 Normandy Four backs withdrawal of small artillery and tanks from the line of contact in Donbas

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The foreign ministers of the Normandy Four group have called on the parties to the conflict for the withdrawal of mortars and heavy weapons below 100mm as well as all types of tanks during the meeting which ended in Berlin after midnight.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov have supported an OSCE initiative that calls for more types of weapons to be withdrawn from the demarcation line, Censor.NET reports citing Ukrinform.

"We call on all sides to stop fighting and demonstrate their commitment to fully implementing the ceasefire and conclude the withdrawal of heavy weapons...we furthermore call for the withdrawal of mortars and heavy weapons below 100mm as well as all types of tanks," the ministers said in their joint statement.

This arrangement as one of the main achievements of the meeting was also voiced by its host, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. According to him, trilateral contact group will meet in the near future, which, together with the OSCE monitoring mission will agree on a schedule for implementation of such agreements.

The ministers have urged the contact group to create four working groups that would focus on specific areas of settlement, which would include military questions, security questions, questions regarding the economic reconstruction of Donbas, humanitarian questions, and questions on political reform. Commenting on this point, Steinmeier noted that members of these groups should be defined in the near future and will take efforts to provide the people in eastern Ukraine with humanitarian aid. He also called the completion of the exchange of prisoners one of the main issues.

Read also: Normandy Four foreign ministers meeting commenced in Berlin

The diplomats have expressed concern over recent hostilities with the use of heavy weapons, particularly near Shyrokyne and the Donetsk airport, describing the overall situation as an extremely tense one.

It should be reminded that the so-called Normandy-4 group of foreign ministers from France, Germany, Russia, and Ukraine held a meeting at Villa Borsig in a suburb of Berlin on Monday. The negotiations lasted more than four hours. They were attended by Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Laurent Fabius, Pavlo Klimkin and Sergei Lavrov, as well as Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Ambassador Heidi Tagliavini and Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission, Ambassador Apakan.

 
 
 
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