Geneva Meeting on the situation in Ukraine (17/04/2014)

High Representative Catherine Ashton participated on 17 April in a meeting between the European Union, the United States, Ukraine and Russia tode-escalate the situation in Ukraine. In preparations of the talks, she met with the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia in the evening of 16 April. Ahead of the quadrilateral meeting, Ms Ashton also had a bilateral meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry.

After the quadrilateral meeting between High Representative Catherine Ashton, US Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia, the four parties issued the following joint statement:

"The Geneva meeting on the situation in Ukraine agreed on initial concrete steps to de-escalate tensions and restore security for all citizens.

All sides must refrain from any violence, intimidation or provocative actions. The participants strongly condemned and rejected all expressions of extremism, racism and religious intolerance, including antisemitism.

All illegal armed groups must be disarmed; all illegally seized buildings must be returned to legitimate owners; all illegally occupied streets, squares and other public places in Ukrainian cities and towns must be vacated.

Amnesty will be granted to protestors and to those who have left buildings and other public places and surrendered weapons, with the exception of those found guilty of capital crimes.

It was agreed that the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission should play a leading role in assisting Ukrainian authorities and local communities in the immediate implementation of these de-escalation measures wherever they are needed most, beginning in the coming days. The US, EU and Russia commit to support this mission, including by providing monitors.

The announced constitutional process will be inclusive, transparent and accountable. It will include the immediate establishment of a broad national dialogue, with outreach to all of Ukraine's regions and political constituencies, and allow for the consideration of public comments and proposed amendments.

The participants underlined the importance of economic and financial stability in Ukraine and would be ready to discuss additional support as the above steps are implemented."

In a joint press conference with US Secretary of State John Kerry following the conclusions of the talks, Ms Ashton said: "These have been very frank and I think constructive discussions that are looking to find the concrete steps, real practical things that can de-escalate the tensions in Ukraine. I think it was very important to bring us all together here to have that process of dialogue begin." She added: "We absolutely welcome the Ukrainian commitment to conduct an inclusive and transparent constitutional process. We know that free and fair Presidential elections on 25 May are the best way to express the will of the people of Ukraine, as is this process of constitutional reform. And we want to see all candidates behaving well and being treated with great respect in that process. We remain committed to the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. In the meantime, the European Union will continue to support efforts to stabilise the situation in Ukraine economically, financially and politically. I believe that, by discussing constructively solutions and actions, that this is the best way to find a way out of the current crisis."

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