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Belarusian Foreign Minister Mocks Kazakh President's Offer To Host Ukraine Talks


Belarusian Foreign Minister Uladzimer Makei (file photo)

The foreign minister of Belarus has mocked and criticized Kazakhstan's suggestion that Astana should host peace talks on Ukraine that were previously held in Minsk.

Belarusian Foreign Minister Uladzimer Makei said in a statement on January 19 that moving the talks to a new venue wouldn't change anything.

"The negotiations' venue is hardly relevant," Makei said. "The negotiations on Ukraine could even be moved to Antarctica if there is a certainty about their success."

Makei also said Belarus is not "seeking peacemaker's laurels unlike some others."

Meanwhile, the Kremlin said in a statement that commitment to the 2015 Minsk Accords is "more important than the venue for negotiations" on resolving Ukraine's conflict.

The statements from Minsk and Moscow came a day after Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev said peace talks on Ukraine were deadlocked and suggested his country could serve as a new venue for negotiations.

Nazarbaev said while on a visit to the United States that he discussed the conflict during a meeting with President Donald Trump, and that Trump suggested moving the talks to another location.

Minsk has hosted a series of negotiations aimed at resolving the war in in eastern Ukraine between government forces and Russia-backed separatists.

More than 10,300 people have been killed since the fighting back in April 2014.

A peace plan brokered in Minsk in 2015 by France and Germany helped to reduce hostilities.

But clashes continue and attempts to reach a political settlement have stalled.

Based on reporting by AP, Today.kz, and Interfax
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