Former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma has arrived in Belarus to take part in a trilateral meeting of an international contact group on settling the situation in southeastern Ukraine.
Belarus will do its utmost to help bring the situation in Ukraine back to normal, Belarusian President Aliaksandr Lukashenka said as he met with Mr Kuchma.
“We will do what ought to be done. Do not read or listen to those who say that it is about publicity moves and image. We do not need it. You know it very well. I do not stand being a mediator. Together we will do everything for our Ukraine in order to ease the tensions in the eastern part of the country. We are very interested in it,” news agency BelTA quotes Mr Lukashenka as saying.
The head of state emphasized the importance of the Belarus-Ukraine cooperation. He noted that the bilateral trade reached $6-7 billion as early as during the presidency of Leonid Kuchma.
“It is vitally important for Belarus; publicity moves have nothing to do with it. Nobody uses tragedy for a publicity stunt. Therefore you can be rest assured that we will arrange as many events as needed for the group you work with,” he said.
On Tuesday Ukraine’s President Poroshenko phoned Aliaksandr Lukashenka and asked to make the Republic of Belarus a conference venue on solving the Ukrainian crisis with participation of all the parties concerned; the Belarusian leader gave his consent.
As Aliaksandr Lukashenka is notorious for his maneuvering, he is often accused of ‘sitting on two chairs’ in his relations with the two neighbouring countries. Being dependent on Russia’s loans, Mr Lukashenka seems to be alarmed at Putin’s aggression. Moreover, he wants to gain from cooperation with Ukraine.
Belarus is hosting a meeting of a trilateral contact group to seek a solution to the current military conflict in eastern Ukraine. The trilateral talks will involve Ukraine’s second President Leonid Kuchma, Russian Ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov and an OSCE official. On top of the agenda are still a ceasefire at least in the area of the plane crash and establishing of the dialogue on assessment of the agreements reached in Geneva on July 17 and in Berlin on July 2.