Extension of Special Monitoring Mission mandate indicates that scope for co-operative solution in Ukraine persists, Chairperson-in-Office says
BERN, 22 July 2014 - After the decision of the OSCE Permanent Council, upon request by the Ukrainian government, to extend the mandate of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine for a further six months, the Chairperson-in-Office and Swiss Foreign Minister, Didier Burkhalter, welcomed that the SMM will be able to continue to play its crucial role in assisting Ukraine in de-escalating measures.
As the silence procedure regarding the decision expired unbroken today at noon, he expressed his gratitude to all participating States for the confidence in the mission’s work and for the ongoing support, financially and in terms of personnel. The decision, taken by consensus, indicated that the scope for a co-operative solution to the Ukraine crisis persists among the 57 participating States even under the current challenging circumstances, Burkhalter said.
The timely extension of the current mandate, which will expire on September 20, 2014, allows the mission to operate uninterrupted. The value of impartially verified information and objective reporting on developments on the ground cannot be overestimated in tense and volatile situations, Burkhalter said. The SMM has also proven to be a useful facilitator of contacts, Burkhalter continued, pointing to the mission’s major role in enabling access to the crash site of the MH17. Referring to this particular case and beyond, the Chairperson-in-Office called upon all sides to allow monitors to fulfil their tasks unhindered, and to assure the safety of the monitors also at the crash site in line with the Declaration of the Permanent Council of 18 July. He also thanked the SMM leadership and the entire team for their tireless work and their strong commitment to help stabilizing the situation in Ukraine.
The mandate of the Special Monitoring Mission and the deployment of monitors to Kherson, Odessa, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kharkiv, Donetsk, Dnepropetrovsk, Chernivtsi, and Luhansk, with Kyiv as head office, remain unchanged. The mission’s aim is to contribute to reducing tensions and fostering peace, stability and security; its mandate comprises tasks such as gathering information, reporting on the security situation as well as establishing and reporting facts regarding incidents, including those concerning alleged violations of fundamental OSCE principles and commitments, monitoring the human rights situation including the rights of minorities and facilitating dialogue on the ground to promote normalization of the situation. At the moment, the Special Monitoring Mission includes 227 monitors from 41 countries, plus local staff.