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Global 'Elders' Call For Compliance With Minsk Agreement

Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) meets with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter (center), former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and other members of the Elders group at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow on April 29.

Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev has met with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and other prominent former global leaders in Moscow.

The visit on April 29 by the group called The Elders comes as Russia's relations with the West are severely strained over Moscow's seizure of Crimea and the deadly conflict in eastern Ukraine.

A spokesperson for Gorbachev said, "All those involved in the discussion were unanimous that the most important thing now is to ensure compliance by all parties with the Minsk agreements," signed in February in the Belarusian capital.

The Elders also met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who told them their opinion was very much in demand in the present-day world.

Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters the meeting was not organized because of the heightened tension, saying the group's focus was on "conceptual discussions about the future of global relations."

But he said that "the current turbulent situation is just another reason to hold such a meeting," he said.

The Elders, brought together by Nelson Mandela in 2007 and now chaired by Annan, call themselves "an independent group of global leaders who work together for peace and human rights."

Based on reporting by Interfax and TASS