Italy is actively seeking to broker a permanent peace deal in Ukraine and is willing to become a guarantor of the country’s neutral status, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said on Saturday. The diplomat made these remarks after he met with his Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov in Baku.
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“Italy is working non-stop to put this conflict to an end through sanctions and without ever giving up the diplomatic channels. The continuation of negotiations between the parties and a humanitarian truce are priorities,” Di Maio stated, acknowledging that “progress” was made during Russia-Ukraine talks in Turkey earlier this week.
The Italian government has expressed its willingness to become a guarantor of Ukraine’s potential neutral status, which would mean the country will not align with any military blocs, Di Maio added. Establishing such status and ensuring that Kiev never joins the US-led NATO military alliance is one of the key demands raised by Moscow.
Moscow initiated a special military operation against its neighboring state at the end of February, after years of Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements signed in 2014, and Russia’s recognition of the Donbass self-proclaimed independent republics in Donetsk and Lugansk.
Russia has now demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join NATO. Kiev insists that the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.