I took the updates out of order because FT had the full text of the Minsk Agreement
|Merkel "presents" Poroshenko to Putin- an absurd caption|
2. Withdrawal of all heavy weapons by both parties at equal distances to create a security zone of at least 50km from each other for artillery systems of 100mm calibre or more, a security zone 70km wide for multiple-launch rocket systems and a security zone 140km wide for multiple-launch rocket systems Tornado, Uragan, Smerch and tactical missile systems Tochka.
For the Ukrainian troops these distances apply from the actual line of contact. For the armed forces of certain areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine they apply from the contact line in accordance with the Minsk memorandum of September 19th, 2014.
Withdrawal of heavy weapons above shall begin no later than the second day after the start of the ceasefire and be completed within 14 days.
The OSCE, with the support of the Three-Party Contact Group, will contribute to this process.
3. The effective monitoring and verification of the ceasefire and the withdrawal of heavy weapons will be ensured from the side of the OSCE from the first day of the withdrawal, with the help of all necessary means including satellites, drones, radar systems etc.
4. On the first day after the withdrawal a dialogue is to begin on the modalities of local elections in accordance with Ukrainian law and [in particular] Ukrainian Law ‘On the temporary regime of local government in some areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions’, as well as on how these areas are to be run in the future on the basis of that law.
Immediately and not later than 30 days from the date of signing of this document, a resolution is to be adopted in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine indicating the territories covered by the special regime in accordance with the Ukrainian Law ‘On the temporary regime of local government in some areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions’, based on the line set in the Minsk memorandum of September 19th, 2014.
5. Pardons and amnesties will be granted through the enactment of a law prohibiting the prosecution and punishment of persons in connection with the events that took place in some areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine.
6. Hostages and illegally detained persons will be released and exchanged based on the principle ‘all for all’. This process must be completed no later than the fifth day after the withdrawal.
7. Provide secure access, delivery, storage and distribution of humanitarian assistance to the needy on the basis of an international mechanism.
8. Determination of the modalities of the full restoration of socio-economic relations, including social transfers such as pensions and other payments (receipts and income, timely payment of all utility bills, renewal of taxation within the legal framework of Ukraine).
To this end, Ukraine will regain control of the parts of its banking system in conflict-affected areas, and there will possibly be an international mechanism to facilitate such transfers.
9. Restoration of full control over the state border of Ukraine by the government throughout the conflict zone, which should begin on the first day after the local elections and be completed after a comprehensive political settlement (local elections in some areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions on the basis of the Law of Ukraine and constitutional reform) at the end of 2015, subject to paragraph 11 — in consultation and agreement with the representatives of individual areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions in the framework of the Three-Party Contact Group.
10. Withdrawal of all foreign armed forces, military equipment, as well as mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under the supervision of the OSCE. Disarmament of all illegal groups.
11. Constitutional reform will be conducted in Ukraine, and a new constitution will enter into force by the end of 2015 which is intended as a key element of decentralisation (taking into account the special characteristics of certain areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions as agreed with representatives of these areas). Also a permanent law is to be adopted by the end of 2015 on the special status of certain areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions in accordance with the measures specified in Note .
12. On the basis of the Law of Ukraine ‘On the temporary regime of local government in some areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions’ questions regarding local elections will be discussed and agreed with certain areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions in the framework of the Three-Party Contact Group. Elections will be held in compliance with the relevant standards of the OSCE in monitoring by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.
13. To intensify the activities of the Three-Party Contact Group, including through the establishment of working groups to implement the relevant aspects of the Minsk Agreement. They will reflect the composition of the Three-Party Contact Group.
Such measures, in accordance with the Law ‘On the temporary regime of local government in certain areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions’ include the following:
— Exemption from punishment, harassment and discrimination of individuals associated with the events that took place in some areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions;
— The right to self-determination of language;
— Participation of local governments in the appointment of heads of prosecutors and courts in certain areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions;
— The possibility for the central executive authorities to conclude with the relevant local authorities an agreement on economic, social and cultural development of certain areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions;
— The State shall support socio-economic development of certain areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions;
— Assistance from the central government for cross-border co-operation in selected areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions and the regions of the Russian Federation;
— The creation of people’s militia units to address local councils in order to maintain public order in certain areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions;
— The powers of local council deputies and officers elected in early elections, appointed by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on this law, cannot be terminated.
Signed by the participants of the Three-Party Contact Group:
Ambassador Heidi Tagliavini
The second President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma
Ambassador of the Russian Federation, to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov
Poroshenko says no Agreement on Autonomy?
MINSK, Belarus (AP) — Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says talks in Minsk did not include any agreement on autonomy for the rebel-held areas in eastern Ukraine.UPDATE #3
Russia-backed separatists have been fighting government forces since April. Their early demands of federalization culminated in a May referendum for independence.
Poroshenko told reporters Thursday Ukraine has not agreed to the federalization of the country or even autonomy to the region.
The Ukrainian leader earlier said the parties in Minsk agreed to withdraw heavy weaponry from the front line and help Ukraine reclaim the control of the border with Russia
Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko has flatly rejected the idea of granting a broad autonomy to the eastern Donbas region, and of making Ukraine a federation.
“Ukraine was, is and will remain a unitary state. Federalization is not an option,” President Poroshenko wrote on his Facebook page in the immediate wake of the four-sided talks on ending the yearlong conflict, which wrapped up in Minsk on Thursday.
UPDATE # 1
Significant differences remain as leaders of Russia and Ukraine gather for crucial talks that aim to end the fighting between the Russian-backed separatists and government forces that has torn up eastern Ukraine, writes Vladimir Isachenkov of The Associated Press
WHERE TO DRAW THE LINE?
Ukraine says a new ceasefire deal must respect a division line agreed upon in September's peace agreement. Russia, however, wants to move that line back to include the significant territorial gains the rebels have made since then. Although the original Minsk agreement envisaged that each party pulls heavy artillery back 15 kilometres from the line of division, French President François Hollande says the plan under negotiation would see a 50-to 70-kilometre demilitarized zone.THE WITHDRAWAL OF FIGHTERS, WEAPONS
Ukraine's key demand is that Russia withdraw its troops and weapons from the country. Ukraine and the West say Russia has fuelled the insurgency with soldiers and equipment and accused it of breaching the original Minsk agreement that envisaged the pullout of foreign fighters. Moscow denies the accusations and insists the Russians fighting alongside the rebels are volunteers. The number of sophisticated heavy weapons in rebel hands belies that denial.WHO CONTROLS THE BORDER?
Ukraine is demanding that it gets back control over its border with Russia and that rebels hand back border posts they have captured. It also wants the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe to monitor the border to stem the flow of Russian troops and weapons. Russia has allowed OSCE monitors at two border checkpoints, but said the OSCE needs to talk to the rebels to monitor other sections of the border. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned Wednesday that border controls couldUKRAINE'S DESIRE TO JOIN NATO
only be fully restored after Ukraine gives a broad autonomy to the east, grants amnesty to the rebels and ends its financial blockade of rebel-controlled areas.
Russian President Vladimir Putin's concerns that Ukraine will join NATO triggered the current crisis and he will keep urging the West to guarantee Ukraine will not become part of the military alliance. The West says Ukraine has a sovereign right to determine its own future. Concessions on the subject are unlikely.AUTONOMY FOR REBEL-HELD AREAS
The exact measure of autonomy for Ukraine's rebellious east is a major sticking point in the talks. Russia has demanded Kyiv approve a wide autonomy for the separatist eastern regions, hoping that would allow Moscow to preserve leverage over its neighbour and prevent Ukraine from ever joining NATO. Shortly after September's peace deal, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed a law offering broad rights to the rebel-controlled territories, including local elections under Ukrainian law and the ability to form their own police force. But the rebels rejected the law as inadequate and went ahead with their own local elections that Ukraine and the West dismissed as a sham.PEACEKEEPERS
Russia has talked about the potential deployment of international peacekeepers to monitor the ceasefire, while Ukraine has remained cautious. Russia appears to want a peacekeeping contingent that includes soldiers from Moscow-friendly ex-Soviet countries - something Ukraine reportedly opposes.