" The last round of peace talks was held Sep 20, during which the sides agreed to stop using heavy weapons in populated areas, establish a weapons-free buffer zone and adhere to the Minsk protocol signed earlier."
Kiev Dec 3 - Representatives from Kiev and the leadership of independence-seeking rebels are expected to continue their talks on resolving the conflict in eastern Ukraine next week, former Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma said here Wednesday.

The next round of negotiations is likely to be held next week, Xinhua quoted Kuchma, who is a representative of the contact group on normalising the situation in Ukraine's eastern regions, as telling reporters.

Kuchma said the meeting is scheduled to take place in the Belarussian capital of Minsk with the participation of representatives from Russia and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

The Minsk ceasefire protocol is the only agreement which may pave the way for a solution to the conflict, Kuchma said, emphasising that the document should not be amended.

The last round of peace talks was held Sep 20, during which the sides agreed to stop using heavy weapons in populated areas, establish a weapons-free buffer zone and adhere to the Minsk protocol signed earlier.

The two sides agreed on a ceasefire Sep 5, but the agreement was never fully implemented. Since then, more than 1,000 combatants and civilians have been killed in eastern Ukraine, bringing the overall death toll in the eight-month-old conflict to more than 4,300.


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