Lukashenko backs Zelensky's initiatives on new format of talks

Lukashenko backs Zelensky's initiatives on new format of talks

Ukrinform
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has supported Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's initiative regarding a new format of negotiations on settling the situation in Donbas, according to an official statement released on the website of the Belarusian president on Monday.

"In connection with numerous questions from mass media regarding the statement by Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky in which he suggested holding talks in Minsk with the participation of the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, the USA, the UK, Germany, and France, we inform that Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko is, of course, already familiar with the statement of the Ukrainian head of state. We would like to note that the policy of the Belarusian president has not changed. Neither has his attitude to the conflict in Ukraine," the statement reads.

It notes that Lukashenko "absolutely supports Volodymyr Zelensky's offer."

"This position remains unchanged: you cannot look at each other through the scope of a weapon. You need to sit down at the negotiating table and address numerous pending issues," the message reads.

"With regard to the proposals concerning the participants of the meeting, all remember that the Belarusian President has repeatedly said that it was us, the three Slavic nations, that should solve this problem. Not the Europeans, not the Americans, but us if we do not want it to turn into a frozen conflict following the example of other hot spots in the post-Soviet space (this topic was raised during the Forum of Regions of Belarus and Ukraine last year). But since attempts to solve the problem in such a format have failed and since one of the parties to the conflict, namely Ukraine, insists and suggests inviting other players, then we will support this format, too… So much so that Alexander Lukashenko has long spoken about the participation of the United States in resolving this conflict. Without Americans it will be difficult to solve this problem as they are deeply involved in these processes," the press service of the Belarusian president reported.

It also stressed that "regarding the venue of the meeting... there are no two ways about it: the war is at our doorstep, and it has always been an honor for Minsk to host peace initiatives and negotiations."

Earlier on Monday, Zelensky told Russian President Vladimir Putin that he was ready to hold a meeting with him with the participation of U.S. President Donald Trump, British Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron. Zelensky also proposed holding the meeting in Minsk. He said this in a video address due to the announced TV link-up between Ukrainian and Russian TV channels.

Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov, in turn, said that the Kremlin would consider Zelensky's proposal about a new format of negotiations on the settlement of the situation in Donbas with the participation of the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany and France, but so far Russia is not ready to give an answer.

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