Obama hopes Minsk deal to be implemented before November
"We have the time and the wherewithal and the tools to do so"
US President Barack Obama is pushing for implementation of Minsk agreements before he leaves office, national-security adviser Susan Rice has said as quoted by Reuters.
Appearing at a Washington Post event on June 9, Rice said U.S. officials are intensifying their efforts with their French and German counterparts to convince Ukraine and Russia to carry out their parts of the Minsk deal they signed in February 2015.
"This is something that could get done between now and the end of the administration if the Russians in particular exhibit sufficient political will," Rice said.
"We are hopeful if the Russians want to resolve this -- and we have some reason to believe they might -- we have the time and the wherewithal and the tools to do so," Rice said.
While she said much is in Russia's hands, Rice acknowledged that Kyiv may continue to have trouble keeping up its end of the deal as well, particularly the requirement to pass legislation paving the way for local elections in eastern Ukraine.
"There are no sure bets" that the Ukrainian parliament would be able to ratify electoral reforms, she said, and she acknowledged there may not be enough time.
In an effort to prod Russia into furthering the peace deal, the United States and European Union have stood firm thus far on keeping economic sanctions on Russia in place, insisting that they will not be lifted until the Minsk agreement is fully implemented.
The EU's sanctions expire next month. EU leaders have said they are likely to be extended, despite growing opposition to them in France, Hungary, Slovakia, Italy, Greece, and other parts of the EU.