US won’t join Normandy process yet, but ready to support diplomacy

22 December 2021, 10:28 AM

The United States is not yet willing to join in the Normandy peace process, launched to resolve the Russian-Ukrainians conflict in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, but is willing to assisting in implementing the Minsk agreements, Assistant Secretary of State Karen Donfried said at a Dec. 21 press briefing.

“I was in Kyiv, Moscow, and Brussels last week, and the main purpose of that visit was for me to share that the United States is open to helping facilitate implementation of the Minsk agreements in support of the Normandy process,” she said.

“So this is not about the U.S. joining the Normandy process; it’s about the U.S. supporting the diplomacy that is already underway. And we will continue to engage not only with Ukrainians and Russians on this, but also with the French and the Germans and the OSCE.”

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The diplomat called her trip “productive.”

“The trip was … an important opportunity to reaffirm our commitments to Ukraine, encourage Russia to de-escalate and pursue the diplomatic path, and finally, to closely coordinate with our NATO allies and EU partners,” she said.

According to the official, the United States and its European allies agree that “diplomacy, especially through the Normandy format, is the only responsible way forward to resolve the conflict in Donbas by implementing the Minsk agreements.”

Donfried’s visits last week were to discuss Russian military buildups on Ukraine’s border and reaffirm the United States’ unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty. Approximately 100,000 Russian troops are currently deployed in Russian territory close to the Ukrainian border.

France and Germany have called on the sides to hold a Normandy foreign ministers’ meeting as soon as possible, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Dec. 9.

The French foreign minister said a Normandy Four (Ukraine, Russia, France, Germany) meeting had been proposed for Nov. 11, but that this had been rebuffed by Moscow.

Earlier, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Russia was putting forward unrealistic demands on Germany, France, and Ukraine in order to obstruct the Normandy format talks.

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