Foreign Minister Schallenberg today welcomed his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba for a first personal meeting in Vienna, and is therefore continuing to strengthen political and economic relations with Ukraine as set out in the government programme. The two Foreign Ministers discussed the very good cooperation in the fight against Covid-19 and the possibilities of expanding economic relations, particularly in the field of infrastructure. The conflict in Eastern Ukraine and the current situation in Belarus were also discussed. Austria also assured continued support for the proactive approach in the conflict in Eastern Ukraine:
We see the full implementation of the Minsk agreements as the key to a lasting, peaceful resolution of the conflict. Ukrainian courage has led to some significant progress.
explained Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg.
It was essential that all parties approached the talks with the same seriousness and determination to find a political solution. Foreign Minister Schallenberg expressed the hope that the cease-fire would be maintained despite recent provocations and that further progress would be made, for example in the exchange of prisoners. Both Foreign Ministers underlined the important role of the OSCE. Ukraine could also count on Austria to combat the humanitarian consequences of the conflict and the additional consequences of the pandemic: The total amount of support provided by Austria since 2014 is 6.8 million euros. The Council of Ministers today approved a further million euros from the Foreign Disaster Fund (FDF) for Eastern Ukraine. The Foreign Ministers also exchanged views on current developments in Belarus.
We agreed that the only way out of the crisis is with inclusive national dialogue. A sovereign, democratic and economically successful Belarus is in all our interests.
explained Foreign Minister Schallenberg.