U.S. should join talks in 'Normandy format' to enhance their effectiveness – expert

U.S. should join talks in 'Normandy format' to enhance their effectiveness – expert

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The United States should join negotiations in the "Normandy format" in order to enhance their effectiveness.

The senior fellow of the Brussels office of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, Bruno Lété, said this in an exclusive comment to an Ukrinform correspondent in the context of the announced meeting of the foreign ministers of the Normandy Four countries in Munich on February 16.

"To my opinion the Normandy format would be far more effective if the United States would be involved. The NF is missing a very important ‘transatlantic’ link that recognises the political, economic and military interest of the U.S. in the region," the expert said.

At the same time, he stresses that the "Normandy format" is a useful tool to make Russia sit at the negotiating table.

"It is arguably the most valuable platform that Ukraine has to discuss policy issues and military risk reduction directly with Moscow. But the NF has failed to date to deliver significant progress on essential questions like Crimea or Donbas," he said.

As for the Minsk process, the expert stresses that the lack of progress in it is also disappointing.

"But we cannot give up on Minsk. By concept and format it is a good agreement, and it is the only agreement we have. If we give up on Minsk , we lose an important roadmap for peace in Ukraine, and we lose a tool to hold Russia accountable, " Lété believes.

Moreover, there is no realistic perspective to replace Minsk by ‘something else’. "Keep working on implementing the Agreement is the key message here," he stressed.

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