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Macron and Merkel Urge Russia To Send Its Officers Back to Center To Monitor Implementation of Minsk Accords

Dec. 24, 2017 (EIRNS)—French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel issued a joint statement yesterday, on Russia, calling on it to send its officers back to the Joint Center for Control and Coordination (JCCC), which had been set up to help implement the Minsk agreements. Russia withdrew its officers on Monday Dec. 18, citing efforts by the Ukrainian side to prevent them from functioning effectively. Merkel and Macron said the Joint Center "is playing an important role in efforts to support the OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe] observers and the agreements on ceasefire," the press service of the German government said yesterday. The day before, Merkel and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko spoke by phone, and German government spokesman Georg Streiter said that Germany and France plan to act as mediators to have the Russian military return to the Joint Center for Control and Coordination in Donbas. "The Chancellor and the Ukrainian President shared the opinion that Russian officers should be back in the JCCC as soon as possible," he said. "They agreed to take efforts so that specialists from Germany and France act as mediators on this matter."

Sen. Franz Klintsevich, first deputy chairman of the Federation Council’s Defense and Security Committee, said that Russian officers may return on condition that it becomes an effective and functional body.

"I think that Russian servicemen may return to the JCCC. On one condition, of course. The center should become a really functioning instrument of the control over the situation in Donbas,"

he said. Klintsevich noted that statement of Merkel and Macron was "quite illustrative," since it showed that Europe understands that settlement of the Ukrainian conflict is impossible without Russia, being one of the guarantors of the Minsk process. He suggested that if they want Russian officers to return to the JCCC, they should change the behavior of Kiev.