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Jaishankar, Ukrainian foreign minister Kuleba hold bilateral talks

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NewsDrum Desk
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New Delhi, Mar 29 (PTI) India and Ukraine on Friday held "open and wide-ranging" talks here as part of a bilateral engagement between its foreign ministers, with discussions focussing on the "ongoing conflict and its wider ramifications".

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Ukraine's Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba's two-day visit to India comes amid efforts to seek a peaceful resolution to the more than two-year-old Russia-Ukraine conflict. He arrived here on Thursday.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met Kuleba at the Hyderabad House.

After the meeting, Jaishankar in a post on X said, "An open and wide-ranging conversation with Ukraine FM @DmytroKuleba this afternoon." "Our discussions focused on the ongoing conflict and its wider ramifications. Exchanged views on various initiatives in that context. Spoke as well on global and regional issues of interest to both of us. Reiterated our commitment to strengthen the overall relationship, including bilateral cooperation," he said.

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Jaishankar also shared some photographs of him shaking hands with his Ukrainian counterpart and the bilateral meeting.

On Thursday, Kuleba had posted on X, "I began my visit to New Delhi upon @DrSJaishankar's invitation. The Ukrainian-Indian cooperation is important and we will be reinvigorating ties. Building on the dialogue between @ZelenskyyUa and @NarendraModi, we will pay specific attention to the Peace Formula." In his opening remarks at the meeting, Jaishankar welcomed Kuleba to India, and said he was glad to see that "some of our bilateral mechanisms have also met" which has created "a certain momentum in our bilateral relationship".

"Welcome to India, to New Delhi. We have been looking forward to this visit, and I'm very glad that despite our - both of us have fairly heavy travel schedules, we have been able to match it and organise this meeting," he said.

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Jaishankar added that in recent months, "we've had actually interactions at various levels. I'm glad to see that some of our bilateral mechanisms have also met. I think this has created a certain momentum in our bilateral relationship".

"And today, after this discussion in the afternoon, we look forward also to the meeting of the Inter-Governmental Commission," he said.

"Your visit gives us an opportunity, obviously, to understand the situation in your own region, and I look forward to hearing your perspectives on that. I think our teams have prepared a very substantial agenda of our discussions, and I would invite you to make your opening remarks," Jaishankar said.

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After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the government of India recognised the Republic of Ukraine as a sovereign independent country in December 1991. India and Ukraine enjoy warm and friendly relations, according to a 2013 statement on India-Ukraine relations available on the MEA website.

During his weekly press briefing on Thursday, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal, in response to a query on Kuleba's visit, said there will be a "bilateral engagement with the external affairs minister in which they will go over a gamut of issues that lie in the domain of bilateral relations".

They will also "review the Inter-governmental Commission that was held earlier," he had said. The two leaders will also discuss regional and global issues of common concern, Jaiswal had said, adding that there are several other engagements also lined up for the Ukrainian foreign minister.

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"Our position is very clear on peace initiatives and how we look at the Ukraine-Russia conflict. We continue to encourage peaceful resolution of the conflict through dialogue and diplomacy and remain open to engaging all ways and means that would help achieve this objective," the MEA spokesperson had said on a query on India's position on the peace conference in Switzerland.

The peace formula proposed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in 2022 follows 10 principles aimed at ensuring a just and lasting peace in Ukraine.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 20 had held separate conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Zelenskyy and asserted that dialogue and diplomacy were the way forward for the resolution of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

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Modi had spoken to Putin over telephone to congratulate him for winning a fifth term in office in the recent elections, and followed it up with a phone call to Zelenskyy to convey India's "consistent support" for all efforts for peace and bringing an early end to the ongoing conflict.

During the telephone conversation, the Ukrainian President had thanked India for its support for his country's sovereignty and said that it would be important for Kyiv to see New Delhi attend the inaugural Peace Summit in Switzerland.

Zelenskyy had hailed India's continued humanitarian assistance for the people of Ukraine as the two leaders had discussed ways to further strengthen their bilateral partnership in various spheres. PTI KND ZMN

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