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Kerry and foreign dignitaries reach diplomatic accord on Ukraine

john kerry

Secretary of State John KerryPhoto by Joseph Earnest


by Joseph Earnest  April 17, 2014


Newscast Media WASHINGTONNoting that diplomacy requires willing partners, Secretary of State John Kerry said the four-nation talks in Geneva April 17 reached an accord to end the spiraling tensions and escalating violence in Ukraine.

"We worked hard and we worked in good faith in order to try to narrow what are real differences — some of them significant — and to find a way forward for the people of Ukraine that helps them in achieving their aspiration to live in a stable, peaceful and unified democracy," Kerry told journalists at a press conference with European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton.

Kerry met for seven hours with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the EU’s Ashton before announcing the four-party agreement.

It calls for all sides in the Ukrainian conflict to refrain from any violence, intimidation or provocative actions. Additionally, the brief agreement requires all illegally armed groups to be disarmed and for pro-Russian separatists to return control of all seized buildings to Ukrainian authorities.

The agreement also grants amnesty to protesters and to those who have left buildings and other public places and surrendered weapons. But it places an exception on those found guilty of capital crimes.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) will provide a special monitoring mission, already in place, to assist Ukrainian authorities and local communities in immediately implementing the de-escalation measures. Kerry said the United States, the EU and Russia committed to support this mission, to include providing monitors directly.

"What is important is that these words are translated immediately into actions," Kerry told reporters. "None of us leaves here with a sense that the job is done because of words on paper. The job will not be done until these principles are implemented."

President Obama said in Washington that the de-escalation in Ukraine will not take effect for several more days, but the United States will work with Europeans as the terms of the Geneva agreement unfold.

"Over the last week we have put in place additional consequences that we can impose on the Russians if we do not see actual improvement of the situation on the ground. And we are coordinating now with our European allies," Obama said at a White House press briefing.

Kerry said all sides rejected all expressions of extremism, racism and religious intolerance, including anti-Semitism. He added that he spoke with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and that Yatsenyuk reaffirmed the government’s "strong commitment" to a comprehensive, inclusive and open process by which Ukraine will engage in constitutional reform.

Kerry also said he advised Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov that if the United States does not see efforts to implement the principles of the agreement beginning in the upcoming weekend, then the United States would have no choice but to impose further sanctions on Russia. He added that there was no discussion on removing existing sanctions imposed by the United States.  Add Comments>>











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