German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Sunday called for a second international conference to put an end to the crisis in Ukraine. He said he made the proposal in telephone conversations on Sunday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, US Secretary of State John Kerry, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
“In the many discussions I’ve had in the last couple of hours, I’ve been campaigning … to hold a second meeting in Geneva to follow up on the first one,” he told ARD television, according to a text of an interview to be aired later.
He said the purpose of such a meeting would be “finally to make clear agreements on how we can we can put an end to this conflict and gradually move towards a political solution”, Reuters reports.
“Anything else would be irresponsible because it would only mean there are more victims,” he added.
On April 17, Russia, the United States, Ukraine and the European Union struck a deal in Geneva that outlined steps to defuse the crisis, including the disarmament of militants and a national dialogue on constitutional reform. The OSCE is charged with overseeing implementation of the accord.
On Sunday, a Russian deputy foreign minister said that “in the coming days” there would be unspecified new efforts to have the Ukrainian government open a “dialogue” with the pro-federalization supporters.
German Minister for Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier said he was shocked by the painful death of many people in a fire in Ukraine’s southern city of Odessa, according to his Twitter page.
“Tragedy of Odessa must be understood as a wake-up call!” he tweeted.
At least 46 people died in clashes in Odessa on Friday night, with 40 of them killed in fire in the House of Trade Unions. Some 214 people have sought medical help.
Interim Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov signed a decree ordering a two-day national mourning for the victims of the tragic Odessa events.
Clashes broke out Friday evening between ‘anti-Maidan’ activists on one side and fans of the Odessa and Kharkov football fans, who were joined by ‘Euro-Maidan’ activists on the other.
Pro-Kiev radicals blocked the anti-government protesters in the Trade Unions House and set the building on fire. Some burned to death, while others suffocated or jumped out of windows.
Pro-federalization rallies have been on the rise in Ukraine’s eastern cities of Kharkov, Lugansk and Donetsk since March. Later protests have spread to a number of cities in the Donetsk region.