Ukraine, Russia converge in their negotiation positions: Turkish FM
The negotiation teams of Russia and Ukraine, which held face to face talks in Istanbul on March 29, achieved progress on some topics of the negotiations and even discussed how to implement some of the agreed issues, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said.
“There are convergences [in their positions]. But the two sides are waiting for their final decision. Two of the most difficult issues are the status of Crimea and Donbass,” Çavuşoğlu told broadcaster A Haber on March 31.
Çavuşoğlu said the most significant progress so far had been obtained at the talks in Istanbul. “Is everything over? It’s not... Some steps were taken to reduce the tension, even though we don’t see it much on the ground,” he said. “Some say it’s tactical maneuvering. Some raise doubts. We are cautious,” Çavuşoğlu added.
He stressed that an urgent ceasefire is needed, then the agreement will require approval of referendums in the two countries.
Çavuşoğlu also said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, could meet within two weeks for talks.
“There could be a higher-level meeting, at least at the level of foreign ministers, within about a week or two weeks,” Cavusoglu said, adding that he had text exchange with the two ministers recently for prospects of such a meeting.
“We would like to host a foreign ministers’ meeting as an honest mediator,” he stated.
Russian and Ukrainian negotiators met in Istanbul on Tuesday. The talks provided a spark of hope for an end to the war in Ukraine, but there are few signs of attacks abating on the ground.
NATO member Turkey, which has friendly ties with both sides, has positioned itself as a mediator and hosted Lavrov and Kuleba in the southern city of Antalya on March 10.
The Turkish minister also praised Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich, who was present at the Istanbul talks, for his backchannel role in the ongoing process of ending the war.
Abramovich was making “sincere” efforts to and “contributing” to the ongoing process to end the war, he said, adding that the U.K. had imposed some sanctions but Abramovich was not subject to international ones.