By Swann Collins, writer and consultant in international affairs – Eurasia Business News, January 27, 2022

Turkey has proposed to host face-to-face meetings of the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) in Istanbul, said Ambassador Mikko Kinnunen, Special Representative of the OSCE Chairmanship in Ukraine and the TCG since July 2021.

In response to the request of the OSCE Chair, Turkey has proposed Istanbul as a potential place for TCG meetings, in order to reach consensus,” said the Finnish diplomat in a statement following the first meeting of the TCG in 2022.

In addition, the OSCE Ambassador expressed gratitude to the Turkish side for such a proposal, and also informed the discussion participants about the possibility of returning to face-to-face meetings :

I am convinced that face-to-face meetings will improve the quality and increase the confidentiality of our negotiations.”

The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on January 26 that Turkey don’t need tensions on the border with Ukraine and is ready to host talks between Russian and Ukrainian presidents, as a mediator.

Read also : Ukraine’s international monetary reserves reached $ 30.94 billion in 2021

Earlier, the representative of the Russian Federation in the TCG, Boris Gryzlov, said that Ukraine does not do enough to implement the 2015 Minsk Agreements. 

According to the Russian diplomat, security on the line of contact can only be ensured if the Ukrainian government strictly fulfils its obligations. Moscow regularly accuses Kiev of violating the ceasefire in Donbass and calls for a direct dialogue with self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.

Read also : Security talks between Russia, the US and NATO to begin in January

The Deputy Head of the Russian presidential administration Dmitry Kozak said on January 26 that there are still differences between the views of the countries of the Normandy Four. The experienced Russian official noted that the parties decided to hold additional interstate consultations “in order to meet in Berlin in two weeks and try to find solutions to all those problems that have not been resolved for seven years.

A meeting of political advisers to the leaders of the Normandy Four, which includes Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine, was held in Paris on January 26. The last meeting was in September 2021, through videoconference.

On January 26 the adviser to the German Chancellor Jens Plötner, the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak, the representative of the Russian Federation Dmitry Kozak and the diplomatic adviser to the French President Emmanuel Bonn talked eight hours about the implementation of the Minsk Agreements. As a result of the talks, the head of the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Andriy Yermalk, said that the parties shares their differences in the implementation of the Minsk agreements, but at the same time decided to continue working on their implementation.

The Frenchman and the German already held talks with Dmitry Kozak on January 6 at the Arkhangelskoye estate, a Russian state palace near Moscow.

On January 11, after Mrs Bonn and Pletner had visited Kiev, the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that “the time has come to agree in detail on ending the conflict, and we are ready for the necessary decisions during the new summit of the leaders of the four countries.”

Created in June 2014, the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine (also known as the Trilateral Contract Group for the peaceful settlement of the situation in eastern Ukraine) is a group of representatives from Ukraine, the Russian Federation, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) that was formed to facilitate a diplomatic settlement of the war in the Donbass region of Eastern Ukraine.

On September 5, 2014, within the framework of the Trilateral Contact Group, the first Minsk Protocol was signed while the Set of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements, agreed by the heads of state of the Normandy Four was signed on February 12, 2015. The last Normandy Four Summit with state leaders took place in Paris in December 2019. Since then, there has been no noticeable progress in the peace talks over Donbass.

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© Copyright 2022 – Swann Collins, writer and consultant in international affairs.