Negotiators vow to enforce cease-fire in eastern Ukraine

AP News
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Posted: Jan 13, 2016 2:22 PM

MINSK, Belarus (AP) — Negotiators at the Ukraine peace talks have promised to make new efforts to enforce a shaky cease-fire in eastern Ukraine, an envoy said Wednesday.

Boris Gryzlov, a former speaker of the Russian parliament who has been named a Russian envoy, made the offer during peace talks Wednesday in the Belarusian capital of Minsk, and representatives from Ukrainian government and the pro-Russia rebels have backed his proposal, OSCE envoy Martin Sajdik said.

Sajdik said the parties agreed to try again to fully halt fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russia rebels and discussed new efforts to exchange war prisoners. He spoke in Minsk after a meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group, which is negotiating a settlement to the conflict that has killed more than 9,000 people since April 2014.

The group includes envoys from Ukraine, Russia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Representatives of the Russia-backed separatist rebels also attended the talks.

A peace agreement last February has helped reduce fighting in eastern Ukraine, but skirmishes have continued and there has been little progress in bringing about a political settlement. The warring parties have blamed each other for numerous violations.

Gryzlov, a member of Russia's presidential Security Council, is seen as more influential than his predecessor, Mikhail Zurabov. His appointment has been interpreted by some analysts as a sign the Kremlin wants to intensify the talks.