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Saturday, 23 August 2014

Good borders make good neighbours, Merkel tells Ukraine

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday the standoff over Ukraine could be solved only if control was tightened over the Ukraine-Russia border across which, the West alleges, Russia has been funnelling arms to help a separatist rebellion.

Merkel was visiting Kiev as a prelude to a meeting next week between the Russian and Ukrainian leaders that diplomats say is the best chance in months of a peace deal in eastern Ukraine, where government forces are fighting pro-Moscow rebels.


She arrived as tensions flared up again. NATO has alleged Russia's military is active inside Ukraine helping the rebels, and Moscow angered Kiev and its Western allies by sending an aid convoy into Ukraine against Kiev's wishes.

"There must be two sides to be successful. You cannot achieve peace on your own. I hope the talks with Russia will lead to success," Merkel said, looking ahead to the meeting on Tuesday involving Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko.

"The plans are on the table, about how you can achieve peace and good cooperation between the countries. Now actions must follow," she told a news briefing.

She said the main obstacle was the lack of controls along the nearly 2,000 km (1,300 mile) border. She proposed a deal between Kiev and Moscow on monitoring of the frontier by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

"Now we need a two-sided ceasefire linked to a clear controlling of the Russian-Ukrainian border, Otherwise peace won't be achieved," Merkel said.

Peace proposals

Diplomats say Merkel came to Kiev with two objectives: primarily to show support for Kiev but also to urge Poroshenko to be open to peace proposals when he meets Putin next week in the Belarus capital, Minsk.

Poroshenko, whose forces have been forcing the rebels to retreat, said Kiev had offered ceasefires before and they were flouted. He said no peace deal was worth sacrificing Ukraine's territorial integrity, and placed the blame at Russia's door.

"Ukraine is ready and capable of guaranteeing a peaceful settlement," Poroshenko said. "What is stopping us are the foreign mercenaries. Take the people with guns out of our territory....and peace in Ukraine will be quickly restored."....................http://www.france24.com/en/20140823-merkel-kiev-aid-convoy-returns-russia-ukraine/

23/8/14
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