Donetsk, Sep 2 - DAN. The Ukrainian leadership’s reluctance to hold direct dialogue with the Donbass Republics is deadlocking the talks over a peaceful settlement of the conflict in Donbass, Donetsk People’s Republic representative at the Minsk talks, DPR Foreign Minister Natalia Nikonorova said on Thursday.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister, First Deputy Head of the Ukrainian delegation in Minsk Alexey Reznikov said in an interview with that the Contact Group talks had yielded “zero” results. Meanwhile, he believes that it is important to keep the Minsk venue, for example for exchanging prisoners. Kiev is allegedly ready to implement the Steinmeier formula right away, but in Reznikov’s view it is useless.

“Instead of productive work on political settlement, Kiev has only succeeded during all these years in inventing new excuses for sabotage and developing far-fetched initiatives such as the lawbill on the “transition period” which not only fail to facilitate progress at the Minsk platform, but also push the situation with the implementation of the Package of Measures “in the red,” Nikonorova said.

The Ukrainian diplomat did not say that the Steinmeier formula was merely a mechanism for activating the law on the special status of the region, whose parameters have to be determined by the parties within the framework of the Minsk dialogue. No negotiations on this track are being conducted, she said.

“We again draw attention to the fact that Ukraine will not get away with announcing the Minsk talks the “dead history” and refusing to hold them without consequences. The Package of Measures was approved by the UN Security Council; this document has the status of a binding international legal act.  Consequently, the Ukrainian negotiators, including Mr Reznikov should devote their time not to self-indulgence in the media space, but to real productive work jointly with the Republics,” she said.

The Agreements dated September 5 and 20, 2014 and February 12, 2015 forged by the Contact Group in Minsk make groundwork for a peaceful settlement of the Donbass conflict. The Contact Group set forth a peace plan and agreed a ceasefire, then adopted the Memorandum on ceasefire implementation and later on the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements. It envisioned immediate and comprehensive ceasefire in Donbass, withdrawal of heavy weapons, establishment of security zones, discussion of the modalities for the resumption of payment of pensions and allowances to DPR and LPR citizens, and constitutional reform in Ukraine which should result in deep decentralisation. The Package of Measures states that the solutions on Donbass have to be coordinated with People’s Republics’ representatives.*jk