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    Four-Hour Customs Union-Ukraine-EU Talks End in Minsk

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    The leaders of the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, the president of Ukraine and top EU officials completed their talks in the Belarusian capital Minsk Tuesday after four hours of talks.

    MINSK, August 26 (RIA Novosti) — The leaders of the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, the president of Ukraine and top EU officials completed their talks in the Belarusian capital Minsk Tuesday after four hours of talks.

    Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Russia and EU member states met in Minsk where acute issues were discussed, including the Ukrainian crisis, the humanitarian situation in the east of the country, the possibility of talks between Kiev and eastern Ukraine, as well as Ukraine’s association agreement with the European Union.

    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said he was ready to discuss various proposals on ways to overcome the political crisis in his country.

    "I understand that all parties involved would like to quit it with dignity. We are ready to discuss various variants that would ensure such an exit strategy," he said.

    He called on Customs Union member states and the European Union, who gathered in the Belarusian capital Minsk, to accept his peace plan for Eastern Ukraine.

    "I'm convinced that this plan remains a viable and practical instrument for ceasing bloodshed and rebuilding the Donbas region after the conflict. In this regard, I call on all participants of today’s meeting to consider the possibility of making this plan a basis for the Donbas crisis settlement," Poroshenko said.

    Poroshenko also stated Ukraine’s trade turnover with the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan has dropped 30 percent and a further drop in the future must be avoided.

    "Already today, without taking any kind of measures, our trade turnover with the Customs Union has dropped by 30 percent, which is not beneficial for Ukraine or for our partners in the Customs Union. And we cannot allow a further worsening of trade conditions today," he said during the meeting.

    To try to find solutions to the acute Ukrainian issues, Poroshenko has invited the European and Customs Union’s partners to participate in an international donor conference on Ukraine, which is planned for this fall.

    During the multi-party talks in Minsk, the Ukrainian leader stated that the fate of the world and Europe was being decided in Minsk on Thursday.

    Since mid-April the Ukrainian government has been conducting a military operation in the east of Ukraine attempting to suppress independence supporters who refused to acknowledge the new government that came to power after the coup that took place in Ukraine on February 22.

    Thousands of civilians have died as a result of the violent confrontation. Moscow has repeatedly condemned the operation and urged for a ceasefire to prevent further casualties, sending a humanitarian convoy to the war-torn eastern Ukraine that has delivered about 2,000 tons of humanitarian aid.

    Tags:
    European Union, humanitarian situation, talks, Customs Union, Petro Poroshenko, Belarus, Kazakhstan
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