A meeting of the Normandy Quartet foreign ministers in Paris did not lead to any progress, as the parties failed to reach a breakthrough on the issue of elections in Donbass.
As the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov noted, Moscow was ready to support Germany's and France's proposals to hold local elections in Donbass in the first half of 2016, however Ukraine "asked not to insist on it and a consensus was not reached."
The Ukrainian Minister Pavel Klimkin, in his turn, said that it's necessary to solve the security issue to hold the elections in Donbass. "It should be a comprehensive security, we can't talk about elections without it," he said, adding that it is necessary to hold an OSCE monitoring of the Russian-Ukrainian contact line.
The German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called the Paris negotiations very difficult. "Speaking honestly, we are not satisfied either with the current situation in Ukraine or the results of the meeting," the minister stressed.
France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault also noted the failure of the meeting to find any solution to the problem. "We have expressed the desire that these elections must be held in the first half of 2016," RBC cited him as saying.
The Director of the International Institute of Political Expertise, Evgeny Minchenko, in an interview with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza explained the failure of this round of negotiations was due to the lack of desire on the Ukrainian side to negotiate on political issues to resolve the crisis in Ukraine. "Its strategy is very simple – to delay negotiations as much as possible and wait for the opportunity to implement the script, which is called 'the Croatian version', that is, a swift military operation with the extrusion of all the disgruntled ones outside the official borders of Ukraine," he said.
According to the expert, such sentiments in Kiev nullify even the consolidation of the Russian, German and French positions in the negotiating process. "Of course, it is important that France and Germany insist on holding the elections in Donbass now, but the Ukrainian authorities are not so interested in it right now," Evgeny Minchenko said.
The political scientist added that Kiev's unwillingness to take any steps is beginning to irritate the West. "Over the last year, the European participants of the 'Normandy Quartet' have been getting more and more frustrated by the Ukrainian authorities. At the same time, the informal role of the US has increased. They have a very serious impact on the negotiations now," the Director of the International Institute of Political Expertise noted.
The director of 'Slobodchuk and partners: politics, PR, elections', Sergey Slobodchuk, in his turn, pointed out that the ‘Normandy Format’ conducts only diplomatic consultations and doesn't have any legal consequences. "The format's problem is that it doesn't include such foreign players as the US and the UK, although they influence the situation in Ukraine. If this format would work, we don't need other bilateral Russian-US format," the expert outlined his position.
"The focus of the participants of the Ukrainian crisis on a peaceful settlement is a positive thing, but the fact that there is no focus of the United States on it significantly inhibits the situation. Accordingly, there is an incentive for the representatives of the United States and Russia to meet and quickly decide problematic matters. As soon as the major players will formulate their position on problematic issues, the ‘Normandy Format’ immediately starts operating more efficiently," Sergey Slobodchuk expects.