The Prime Minister held a video conference call with President Obama, Chancellor Merkel, President Hollande, Prime Minister Renzi and the President of the European Council yesterday to discuss how Europe and the United States should work together to enforce the Minsk agreements.
The leaders condemned the attack on Debaltseve by Russian-backed separatists following Minsk, welcomed the substantial reduction in violence in Eastern Ukraine in recent days but noted that the situation remained fragile. They discussed the importance of the independent Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) mission and agreed that monitors must be given full, unfettered access to all areas by both sides so that they can properly verify the situation. The international community should continue to support the OSCE mission, providing additional expertise, equipment and personnel if required. The leaders are united in the view that any serious violation of the ceasefire by the Russian-backed separatists should result in severe additional sanctions.
With the withdrawal of heavy weapons underway, they discussed the further steps required by both sides and agreed that any easing of the existing sanctions would be linked to the full implementation of these agreements.
They expressed full support for President Poroshenko’s programme for reform that will help to stabilise the Ukrainian economy and underlined that the international community must do all it can to help the Ukrainian government put the economy on the path to recovery and sustainable growth in the months ahead.
Finally, they touched on the situation in Libya and the importance of finding a solution to the conflict there, welcoming the efforts of UN Special Representative Bernardino Leon. They agreed that their national security teams should consider what more the international community can do to support a political solution in Libya.