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    January 21, 2016

    Poroshenko and Biden Coordinate Actions for Donbass Elections

    Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ
    21st January, 2016




    At a meeting in Davos (Switzerland), Petro Poroshenko, Ukrainian President, and US Vice President Joe Biden agreed to coordinate their actions to revitalize the political process in the framework of the Minsk agreements, including elections in the territories beyond the control of Kiev - Donbass.

    "We have concluded that there is no alternative to the Minsk process. We have the full support of the United States with regard to the implementation of the Minsk process, which has a component in security, " Poroshenko was quoted by the website of the Ukrainian president .

    "We have agreed to coordinate our actions to achieve the ceasefire and ensure access for observers of the Special Mission of the OSCE monitoring to deposits of heavy weapons and the border. We agreed to coordinate our actions to facilitate the release of Ukrainian hostages, "Poroshenko reported.

    According to the Ukrainian President, Ukraine and the United States coordinated their action to activate the political process, including "preparing the modalities" of elections in Donbass "under Ukrainian law, with broad participation of international observers".

    The press service of the Ukrainian President noted that special attention had been given during the meeting to "US support for Ukrainian reforms and increased military-technical cooperation." "We agreed to further strengthen this cooperation," Poroshenko said.

    On January 18, the plenipotentiary representative of the Russian Federation in the Contact Group to resolve the Trilateral Ukrainian conflict, Boris Gryzlov, said the law governing elections in the DPR and the LPR must be coordinated with Donbass (as was agreed after talks in Paris with the participation of François Hollande, Angela Merkel, Petro Poroshenko and Vladimir Putin).

    However, the representative of Kiev in the contact group, former President Leonid Kuchma, said there only should be talk of elections in Donbass or amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine once the ceasefire is active in Donbass and Kiev have regained control over the state border.

    Kuchma's words contradict the text of the agreements Minsk (February 12, 2015). The ninth point of the agreement says the "restoring full control of the state border by the Government of Ukraine in the whole area of conflict" should begin, "the day of local elections and must be completed following the political agreement" , subject to fulfillment of the eleventh point of the agreement (adoption of a consensual constitutional reform with representatives of Donbass and the decentralization of power, which neither have occurred).

    On December 30, 2015, in conversation with the leaders of the countries that make up the Normandy Four, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko demanded the cancellation of local elections planned by the Popular Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.

    According to the results of the telephone conversation between Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, an agreement had been reached to hold elections in Donbass (under Ukrainian law) in early 2016.
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