Press Statement of Special Representative of OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Ambassador Martin Sajdik after meeting of Trilateral Contact Group on 12 April 2017
MINSK, 13 April 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 12 April 2017:
“As you know, humanitarian issues occupy an important place at our meetings in Minsk. Today, the discussion focused on the release of detainees in relation to the conflict. As at the previous meeting, attention was paid to the implementation of а mechanism which would enable a third party to mediate in the attestation procedure for the detainees who, after their release, prefer to stay in the territory where they were held in detention.
As a positive step, I would like to mention yesterday's transfer of 15 prisoners from certain areas of Donetsk region (CADR) to the Ukrainian side to further serve their sentence on the territory of Ukraine.
Besides, in the framework of today’s meeting, letters of detainees in CADR have been handed over to the Ukrainian delegation. In addition, issues related to the search for missing persons were discussed, including the involvement of the ICRC.
The Working Group on Economic Issues discussed, inter alia, the current situation in connection with the blockade of transport corridors, as well as the introduction of the so-called "external administration" and its consequences for enterprises under Ukrainian jurisdiction operating in the territory of certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
As I said last time, it seems to me that the restoration of status quo ante in the above-mentioned fields could be one decisive measure for the renewal of economic cooperation in the region.
The issues of water, electricity and gas supplies as well as payments for these services were discussed, too.
Due attention was paid to the discussion of environmental risks associated with flooded coalmines. In this regard, the idea of creating an international expert group received support.
In the political field, the discussion focused on issues related to the so-called 'Steinmeier formula' as well as the future agenda of the Working Group in line with the assignments from the political advisers of the heads of state and government in the Normandy format as of April 6, 2017.
Security issues feature prominently on our agenda. This includes full compliance with the cessation of fire and implementation of agreements on the withdrawal of heavy weapons, as well as issues of disengagement of forces and hardware and protecting critical civilian infrastructure. In connection with the upcoming Easter holidays, people of eastern Ukraine shall be able to safely visit churches and cemeteries.
At the last meeting on 29 March 2017 the Trilateral Contact Group and representatives of certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine agreed on full compliance with the cessation of fire starting from April 1. Unfortunately, despite a temporary improvement, the situation in the conflict zone remains far from satisfactory. In this connection, the TCG and the representatives of CADR and CALR agreed on the following statement:
On the eve of Easter holidays, the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) and the representatives of certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine reiterate their adherence to their decision of 29 March 2017 on the implementation of previous commitments to full compliance with the cessation of fire”.