The statements made first by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, then by US Secretary of State John Kerry, highlighted the broad points of assent reached at the Geneva conference Thursday for de-escalating the Ukraine conflict. The EU and Ukraine were also present.
Agreements covered three main points: An amnesty for all protesters; their disarming and their return of all buildings, towns and squares to their “legitimate owners;” and a broad national dialogue on constitutional reform with all the regions and political constituencies taking part. The OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) was entrusted with the key mission of monitoring he immediate implementation of these decisions in a concrete, transparent and answerable fashion.
Kerry called the meeting a good day’s work, but added if no progress is made, “we will have no choice but to impose further costs on Russia.” He said al sides had agreed there must be no more violence, intimidation and provocative actions.
President Barack Obama was more skeptical about the Russian follow-through in his remarks later, he said it would take a few days to determine whether the agreement was working. In the meantime, he was consulting with allies about consequences.
DEBKAfile adds: Kerry said differences between the two sides were narrowed, not overcome. Notably, neither statement by Lavrov or Kerry mentioned “federalization” – a key Moscow demand or Ukraine joining NATO, which Vladimir Putin has emphatically refused to accept; nor was any demand registered for Russia to move its troop concentrations back from the Ukrainian border.