Interview: Expert skeptical of prospect of Steinmeier Formula for elections in eastern Ukraine

Source: Xinhua| 2019-10-03 23:56:33|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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KIEV, Oct. 3 (Xinhua) -- The prospect for the implementation of the recently-agreed Steinmeier Formula for elections in the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine is doubtful, according to a political expert.

The Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) on Ukraine, including diplomats from Ukraine, Russia and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), on Tuesday agreed on the plan which is named after incumbent German President and former OSCE Chairman Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

"The Steinmeier Formula can be implemented only if the security issue is agreed, the hostilities are stopped and the question of who will provide security and control over the border during the elections is resolved," Vladimir Fesenko, director of the Penta Center for Applied Political Studies, said Wednesday.

"Without these, elections are unlikely to take place, and, accordingly, the 'Steinmeier Formula' won't be implemented," he added.

Fesenko told Xinhua that resolving these issues may take from half a year to several years and in the worst case the Formula would not be implemented at all.

The political expert also said agreement of the accord was a condition set by Russia for a Normandy Four leaders meeting.

Established in June 2014, the Normandy Four is a contact group for senior officials from Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine that erupted in April 2014.

"There is a certain window of opportunity for us. Actually, the Formula was agreed precisely for the summit to take place. This was the position of the Russian side, and our officials went along with," Fesenko said.

An agreement on Steinmeier Formula had been believed to be the major obstacle in arranging a Normandy Four leaders meeting.

"In my opinion, it is necessary to decide on the further steps to end the hostilities in Donbass at this summit. Secondly, we need to put forward a roadmap for the implementation of the Minsk agreements, and the Steinmeier Formula should be included in this roadmap," Fesenko said.

The Steinmeier Formula came about after a meeting of the TCG on a peaceful settlement in Donbass. The formula suggests the Donbass areas not controlled by Kiev should receive temporary special status for the local elections, which should be held under the Ukrainian law.