Acknowledging recent progress in implementing Minsk protocol, OSCE CiO says stabilizing cease-fire key for peace process in eastern Ukraine
Bern, September 17 2014 – Following the adoption of two important laws in the Ukrainian Parliament, OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter commended Ukraine for the progress made in the implementation of the Minsk Protocol signed on 5 September. This protocol aims at the implementation of President Poroshenko’s Peace Plan and of President Putin’s initiatives.
The CiO referred in particular to the passing of a law regarding the special status of certain districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, also allowing for early local elections there, and to the adoption of the legal basis for the application of amnesty rules regarding activities in connection with events in the region. He also considered it an encouraging signal that numerous detainees from both sides have been released in the last few days. These were major steps that could pave the way towards a lasting solution of the crisis, Burkhalter stressed.
Regarding the commitment reached in the Minsk protocol on ensuring the immediate cessation of the use of weapons, Burkhalter underlined the importance of stabilizing the cease-fire and avoiding any erosion of this commitment. A comprehensive ceasefire regime and a common understanding on the details of a monitoring mechanism need to be established, he said. The OSCE has been assisting in monitoring the cease-fire as well as in verifying information and has doubled the number of monitors in eastern Ukraine since the cease-fire was established. The CiO also stressed that it was indispensable that the OSCE monitors who were present in the affected regions could count on effective security assurances from all sides.
Burkhalter concluded by pointing to the need of restoring effective control over the entire Ukrainian-Russian border as a key prerequisite for a lasting solution. In line with the Minsk protocol, particular attention should now be given to establishing a security zone along the border and effective monitoring of the border.