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Ukraine peace talks to resume Wednesday in Minsk: Poroshenko

23 december 2014, 12:55

 A fresh round of peace talks with Ukraine's pro-Russian rebels will take place in the Belarussian capital on Wednesday and Friday, President Petro Poroshenko said after speaking by phone with his French, Russian and German counterparts, AFP reports.

"The heads of state agreed that the next meetings of the trilateral contact group in Minsk will take place on Wednesday and Friday this week," said a statement on the president's website. The talks will involve envoys from Kiev, Moscow and the pan-European OSCE security body.

The talks are meant to enforce a tenuous peace agreement reached at negotiations in Belarus in September.

The agreement produced deals on a truce and partial self-rule for the two Russian-speaking regions of eastern Ukraine that rebelled against Kiev in April, but continued fighting has led to at least 1,300 more deaths since it was signed.

Following Monday's phone conversation, French President Francois Hollande's office said the four leaders had called for urgent and "concrete progress" in the peace efforts, "especially on the matter of prisoner exchanges".

They also called for the ceasefire to be "fully respected", the Elysee palace said in a statement.

Rebel negotiators from the eastern Donetsk and Lugansk regions confirmed they were ready to take part in this week's talks.

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