Hollande welcomes Ukraine rebel election delay as step towards peace
French President Francois Hollande on Tuesday welcomed a decision by pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine to delay local elections until 2016, saying it was a step toward lasting peace.
"It will allow the continuation of the implementation of the Minsk accord which is the only solution to a peaceful resolution of the Ukraine conflict," Hollande said, referring to the peace deal signed in the Belarussian capital in February.
Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have been key mediators between Ukraine and Russia in the conflict and last week urged the delay of the contentious local elections in eastern Ukraine to ensure they meet international standards.
The Moscow-backed rebels had insisted on carrying out the elections in October and November, on their own terms and on different dates to the rest of the country, testing the fragile peace deal.
With peace appearing closer than ever in the 18-month conflict, Hollande last week said there was a need for "time to draw up a law, an electoral law that perfectly conforms" to international standards.
© 2015 AFP