Hollande hails 'hope' as Ukraine ceasefire agreed at summit
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The Kiev government and separatist rebels have signed a roadmap towards peace in Ukraine, confirmed the Ukrainian, Russian, French and German presidents, involved in drawing up the deal.
Under the roadmap, a ceasefire will begin on Sunday and an enlarged buffer zone will be created.
The so-called contact group (comprising representatives from Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE) agreed the terms with rebel separatists after 16 hours of talks in Minsk, the capital of Belorussia.
At the same time, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukraine’s Petro Porochenko, French President François Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel held talks on the political issues around a deal.
“Every issue has been covered by this text, which has been signed by the contact group and the separatists”, Hollande told reporters afterwards, in a joint declaration with Angela Merkel.
Hollande said the accord represented a “serious hope, even if everything is not yet accomplished.”
A communiqué from German Chanceller Angela Merkel noted that much work remained to be done, and Merkel declared “we have no illusions.”
Putin revealed to reporters that a ceasefire is scheduled from midnight on Sunday.
The other main aspect of the deal states that fighters and heavy weapons must be withdrawn, allowing the creation of a buffer zone of between 50 and 70 kms, rather than the 30 km agreed in a previous accord in Minsk on 19 September.
The warring parties must vacate the buffer zone and withdraw heavy weaponry within 14 days, said Porochenko.
The Ukrainians must withdraw from what is the current dividing frontline, while the rebels must pull back to the September line.