Kravchuk backs ‘good proposal’ to move TCG talks from Belarus to Austria
The current political situation and continuing protests in Belarus are making it likely that the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) on Donbas would relocate its talks to Austria, head of the TCG’s Ukrainian delegation, Leonid Kravchuk, said.
“It is a good proposal. Currently, the political situation in Belarus is unfavorable for our work in Minsk. The people have risen against [Belarusian President Alexander] Lukashenko, and all signs are that protests will continue. It is very difficult to work under such conditions,” Kravchuk told the news website Strana.ua on Saturday.
If nothing changes, the TCG will have to look elsewhere for a venue, he said.
Whether or not to relocate will be decided by the moderator, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, he said. “We are talking about an international venue and so the decision will also be made at the international level,” he said.
During talks with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky earlier this week, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said that Vienna was ready to host TCG talks on Donbas.
Zelensky said it was premature, in his view, to discuss possible relocation and suggested waiting until further developments in Belarus.
“Today, because of COVID-19, it doesn’t matter where people meet, as long as there’s a result. Today, we work by video link. Despite Austria being very supportive of us on this issue and on this sanctions issue, it is too early to discuss matters such as the relocation [of TCG meetings], because we expect the situation, a very difficult one, that is taking place in Minsk, to stabilize,” Zelensky said at a joint press briefing with Kurz in Vienna on Tuesday.