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Leaders agree on Ukraine peace roadmap 'IMF to give $17.5 billion bailout for Ukraine

Published by Tribune on Fri, 13 Feb 2015

Marathon talks in Belarus have secured a deal on a roadmap to peace, including a ceasefire, in Ukraine's war with pro-Russian separatists after negotiations through the night to halt the escalating bloodshed.President Vladimir Putin emerged from the summit with French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Thursday, saying they had reached agreement on the 'main' points.Putin said a ceasefire would take effect on Sunday, February 15, and that heavy weapons would be withdrawn from front lines of the conflict, which has already killed at least 5,300 people and driven hundreds of thousands from their homes.Hollande said that the deal wasn't perfect but was a stepping stone to peace in Europe.'Even though we have not accomplished everything ... this represents 'serious hope' for Ukraine... it is also a big relieve for Europe and it's a good example of what Germany and France can do for peace,' he said.Hollande and Poroshenko stressed that separatist leaders had signed the truce, meant to replace an earlier ceasefire agreement reached in Minsk in September but rarely observed.Al Jazeera's Rory Challands, reporting from Minsk, said: 'There are massive problems going on' Now what we've heard as the latest is that Poroshenko is calling certain parts of the Russian position unacceptable, and that clearly shows you where the differences lie.'They lie between Ukraine and Russia. We are also hearing that the Donetsk People's Republic representative and the Luhansk People's Republic representative, who are also in Minsk within a different location, have turned down whatever was planned, whatever was agreed here in the presidential palace.'Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund has agreed on a new $17.5 billion bailout deal for Ukraine to help stabilise the country's finances, VOA said.The four-year deal could include as much as $40 billion in funding when combined with money from other lenders, IMF chief Christine Lagarde said.Ukraine's cash-strapped government struggled for financial help even before a nearly year-long conflict began along its eastern border with Russia.Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said Thursday the government would carry out necessary reforms, including cutting spending. He said if the reforms are successful and the conflict ends, then Ukraine's economy will grow next year, VOA reported.The talks in the Belarusian capital were seen as a last opportunity for European leaders to save nearly bankrupt Ukraine from ever-widening defeats at the hands of rebels said by Kiev and the West to be armed by Russia.Even as the deal was agreed, fighting over the last 24 hours in eastern Ukraine killed 10 civilians and two Ukrainian soldiers, Kiev and rebels said.In another boost for Ukraine's beleaguered government, Christine Lagarde, the IMF chief, said a deal had been reached on a new financial rescue plan worth $17.5bn.In total, Ukraine will receive $40bn (35 billion euros) in assistance over four years coupled with bilateral loans from other sources, Lagarde said, helping to stabilise Kiev's finances after 10 months of conflict in the east.Tense talksDespite the deal, Ukraine and Russia continue to disagree on how to end fighting around the eastern railway hub of Debaltseve.The two sides also differ on the question of autonomy for eastern Ukraine.Is Russia a force for good''Despite firm insistence we didn't agree any status of autonomy for eastern region...We didn't agree on federalisation,' Poroshenko said.Details of the truce deal were not immediately released.One of the main sticking points of the failed September version was who controls the 400km stretch of Russia's border with rebel-controlled Ukraine.That sector is entirely under Russia and pro-Russian rebel control and is used, according to Kiev, as a conduit for separatist supplies - something the Kremlin denies.There was also deep disagreement ahead of the Minsk talks over the size of the territory the rebels will control, given that they have made considerable gains in recent weeks, pushing back the outgunned Ukrainian army and volunteer units.Poroshenko was due to brief European leaders on the latest ceasefire deal at a summit in Brussels on Thursday.Source: Al Jazeera And Agencies
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