Germany urges Ukraine's rival camps to respect peace deal

22nd February 2014, Comments 0 comments

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Saturday urged the Ukrainian government and the opposition to respect a peace deal agreed a day earlier to end the ex-Soviet country's worst crisis since independence.

"It is now up to the two sides in the conflict -- the government as well as the opposition -- to stick to what was agreed and to begin building a relationship of trust," he said in a statement, as the regime of President Viktor Yanukovych appeared close to collapse after months of protests.

"The situation remains extremely fragile," Steinmeier said, adding that the priority now was for both parties to hold talks on forming a stable government acceptable to all sides.

"It is perhaps the last chance to come to a peaceful development for the future of Ukraine," he warned.

The Western-brokered peace deal agreed on Friday called for early elections and a new unity government, while granting amnesty for anti-government protesters detained during three days of unrest that claimed nearly 100 lives this week.

But Yanukovych appeared to be losing his grip on power on Saturday, with the emboldened opposition taking control of key parts of Kiev and urging parliament to push for the president's resignation.

Lawmakers also voted to immediately release fierce Yanukovych foe and jailed former premier Yulia Tymoshenko.

© 2014 AFP

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