Press Statement of the Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Sajdik after the meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group on 15 March 2017
MINSK, 16 March 2017 – The Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG), Ambassador Martin Sajdik, made the following statement to the press after the meeting of the TCG and its working groups in Minsk on 15 March 2017:
“As in the previous meetings in Minsk, security issues, including adherence to ceasefire, full implementation of the agreements on the withdrawal of heavy weapons, the disengagement of forces and hardware as well as the protection of civilians and critical infrastructure were the major points of today’s discussions.
Of great concern are also the security issues regarding the personnel and property of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM), as well as existing restrictions on the freedom of movement for the members of the Mission.
As you remember, on 1 February 2017, the TCG and representatives of certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine made a statement calling, among other matters, to ensure safe and secure access for members of the OSCE SMM to fulfil their mandate. In addition, at the meeting on 1 March 2017 the parties discussed security concerns for OSCE SMM personnel and equipment and reaffirmed their respect for the status of the Mission.
Unfortunately, the situation in this area has not yet improved. On the contrary, one can even speak of some deterioration.
In the humanitarian field, discussions on the release of detainees in relation to the conflict continued. Particular attention was paid to the implementation of a mechanism, which would enable a third party to mediate in the attestation procedure for the detainees who, after their release, would prefer to stay on the territory where they have been detained. The discussions on this issue are ongoing.
Issues pertaining to the protection of the civilian population, especially children, were also discussed.
As you probably know, earlier this month the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Peter Maurer, visited Ukraine to address the issue of further participation of the ICRC in providing humanitarian support to the population in the conflict area.
In the political field, the discussion focused on issues related to the so-called ‘Steinmeier formula.’
Today’s discussion in the Working Group on Economic Issues and Rehabilitation was dominated by the issues of the railway blockade and the “external management” introduced for enterprises under Ukrainian jurisdiction in certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Participants noted that one blockade, namely of the Yasynuvata-Skotovata line, was lifted on 13 March 2017. They mentioned the possibility that coal and other cargo transports across the line of contact could resume.
At the same time, questions regarding the “external management” of Ukrainian-owned enterprises in certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions remain unresolved. The Coordinator once again insisted that there must not be any irreversible interventions in the management and the property of those companies.
Among other topics, participants continued to discuss water supply issues. It was positively noted that further payments for water supplies have been made in the framework of the Karbonit system. Participants once again stressed the urgency of protecting essential water infrastructure from the consequences of fighting.
In this regard, I would like to express my personal disappointment and even concern about the current situation, which, in my deep conviction, does not contribute to the success of the Minsk process. On the contrary, the recent events intensify tensions between the parties and have an unambiguously negative effect on the process of mutual rapprochement and economic co-operation. This dangerous spiral urgently needs to be stopped.
I hope that the parties will find ways to improve the current situation in this area.”