US Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker said his next meeting with Russian presidential adviser Vladislav Surkov on Donbas settlement has been postponed at least until December. Until then, the parties took a break after the unsuccessful previous negotiations, Volker told LB.ua in an interview ahead of the VIII National Expert Forum.
"During the first two meetings, I had a feeling that we are opening a pathway toward the opportunities and that Russia was looking into the idea of deployment of peacekeeping troops. They really wanted to link the peacekeeping effort with already existing formats - with Minsk, Normandy, OSCE observers etc. The impression was that there was openness for discussing key parameters, including security in this area, access to the border, etc. " Volker said.
"The last meeting, however, was really a step back. Russia returned to its original concept of using merely security forces. So we agreed that we should take a break, think about each other's position, hold consultations and meet again sometime in December."
At the same time, Volker noted that the concepts of the deployment of peacekeeping mission in Donbas, offered by the parties, though differ in some key points, open way for discussion.
"We have proposed the deployment of a permanent peacekeeping force with a UN mandate in this area, similar to what Ukraine offered a few years ago. Interestingly, after my first meeting with my Russian counterpart, Russia suggested the introduction of a UN security mission. These are different concepts altogether. Russian suggests introducing security force for the OSCE mission, and does not provide for the eventual control of the Ukrainian border by international forces as a result. The question of heavy weapons remains. But at least it opens the debate..."
"We have suggested a more drastic thing – a real peacekeeping force that will be responsible for the security of the entire territory, with the control and monitoring of heavy weapons, as well as for control of the Ukrainian side of the Russian-Ukrainian border.
This will provide a framework through which may continue the implementation of other parts of the Minsk agreements," Volker concluded.
Read more in the full version of the interview of Kurt Volker.