Minsk pact on Ukraine ‘must be implemented’ to ‘build trust,’ PM of Albania, who also holds OSCE chair, tells RT

Minsk pact on Ukraine ‘must be implemented’ to ‘build trust,’ PM of Albania, who also holds OSCE chair, tells RT Albanian prime minister and OSCE chairperson-in-office Edi Rama has said that the Minsk agreements on the Ukraine conflict “need to be implemented” in their current form in order to “build trust” before they can be reviewed.

Speaking to RT, Rama said the Ukraine crisis was the main security challenge for the continent and that his top priority is to make improvements for “the people on the ground that suffer” and “have to go through hell.”

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky suggested in December that the protocol signed in 2014 should be reviewed. 

“Agreements are agreements, they need to be implemented. It’s not good to go around them or to try to review them without first implementing them and building trust,” he said.

Rama, who was in Moscow for talks with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, said it was “common sense” that parties to an agreement have a right to say “maybe this agreement needs to be reviewed” – but said that can’t happen instantly.

“The Minsk agreements may not be perfect, it may not be what one would have signed today with the story that has unfolded for years, but it needs to be implemented. It’s a base and then things can be reviewed with consensus and trust,” Rama told RT.

Rama said he did not want to be “completely pessimistic” about the Minsk agreements because there “are some improvements” already. 

He praised Zelensky for December’s prisoner swap which saw dozens of prisoners from the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk republics exchanged with Kiev. He said Zelensky had also helped with “changing the tone” of communications.

Relations between Moscow and Tirana have been strained for years, but Lavrov said on Wednesday that he was ready for regular telephone conversations with Rama, who is also Albania’s foreign affairs minister. 

Lavrov said it was “not a secret” that relations between the two countries are not good, but they can be “worked on.”

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