Kazakh Capital Could Host Next 'Normandy Four' Talks on Ukraine

© Sputnik / Ekaterina Chesnokova /  / Go to the mediabankWorld cities. Astana
World cities. Astana - Sputnik International
A statement posted on Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev's website said Kazakhstan is willing to hold the next round of talks on the Ukrainian crisis in Astana.

Столица Казахстана Астана - Sputnik International
Kazakhstan Repeats Invitation to Hold Ukraine Crisis Talks in Astana
ASTANA (Sputnik) — Leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France could continue talks on ways to resolve the Ukrainian crisis in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, a statement posted Friday on the Kazakh president's website said.

According to the statement, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has praised in a phone call with President Nursultan Nazarbayev Kazakhstan's efforts aimed at finding a peaceful solution for the deadly crisis in eastern Ukraine.

"Merkel asked the president to continue this important work and mentioned the possibility of holding the next meeting of the 'Normandy Four' in Astana," the statement said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande - Sputnik International
Normandy Quartet to Discuss Implementation of Minsk Agreements - Hollande
German chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and French President Francois Hollande held a 16-hour summit in Minsk on Wednesday and early Thursday that resulted in a new political deal aimed at stopping the deadly conflict in eastern Ukraine that has claimed lives of more than 5,400 people since April 2014.

The sides agreed that the strict implementation of the new deal would lead to broader political agreements that would ultimately result in Ukrainian reconciliation.

The four leaders were expected to convene in the Kazakh capital back in mid-January, but the meeting was called into question after German Chancellor Merkel said she needed assurances from the Kremlin that the warring parties in eastern Ukraine could make "substantive progress" on the September ceasefire deal.

Normandy format talks - Sputnik International
Minsk Agreements Are Optimistic, but Implementation More Important-Experts
The previous Minsk deal, agreed upon by a Trilateral Contact Group of representatives from Kiev, Moscow and east Ukrainian militias, was routinely violated after it was signed on September 19, 2014, prompting the Normandy Four to renegotiate the terms of the reconciliation agreement earlier this week.

The new 13-point roadmap outlines steps that are needed to be taken to bring peace to eastern Ukraine. They include the establishment of a buffer zone between the warring parties; the withdrawal of heavy artillery; a pardon for those involved in the armed conflict; safe access to humanitarian aid; a special status for self-proclaimed eastern republics and local elections there under Ukrainian laws; and a constitutional reform to perpetuate the decentralization of Ukraine.

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