So-called elections not in line with Minsk Protocol, says OSCE Chair, calling for enhanced efforts and dialogue to implement all commitments
Bern, October 31, 2014 - Swiss Foreign Minister and OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Didier Burkhalter, reminded all parties that the Minsk Protocol and the Memorandum of September 5 and 19 respectively should continue to serve as the relevant framework and reference point for steps towards de-escalation of the conflict in eastern Ukraine. He noted that some progress was made in the implementation of the arrangements, particularly with regard to cease-fire and its monitoring, efforts towards decentralization and the liberation of detainees, which led to a decrease in violence.
However, numerous points of the arrangements were still awaiting full implementation, Burkhalter said. In the course of meetings of the Trilateral Contact Group in the last three days, his Special Representative, Ambassador Heidi Tagliavini, had pointed out that more efforts were urgently needed in order to fully implement all provisions of the Minsk documents, including those aimed at making the declared cease-fire more sustainable, securing the Ukrainian-Russian border and the release of all detainees as well as the economic rehabilitation of the conflict zone, Burkhalter remarked.
Burkhalter stressed that the Minsk Protocol foresees the holding of early local elections in accordance with Ukrainian law in certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces. This was in response to calls for greater decentralization and was supposed to create conditions for a cooperative effort to bring back peace and stability to the war-torn parts of eastern Ukraine. Referring to the repeated reports on intentions of the self-proclaimed entities of Donetsk and Luhansk to hold so-called elections outside the framework set by the Ukrainian law, he noted that such action runs counter to the letter and spirit of the Minsk Protocol and would further complicate its implementation.
The CiO regretted that attempts of the Trilateral Contact Group to raise and discuss these issues in a video-conference with the representatives of the self-proclaimed entities of Donetsk and Luhansk, scheduled for the afternoon of 31 October 2014, were not successful due to the non-attendance of the representatives of the self-proclaimed entities. He concluded by underlining that full and unconditional implementation of the Minsk Protocol and the Memorandum remains essential to advance political stabilizationand to establish broad support for the economic rehabilitation of the conflict zone.