Diplomatic Advisers of the Normandy Four Made a Decision to Give Priority to Certain Humanitarian Issues in Donbas
The Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG), Ambassador Martin Sajdik about this and other decisions made at the level of the Normandy format and the Trilateral contact group:
“In my previous speeches, I have repeatedly stressed that safeguarding decent living conditions for civilians in the conflict zone is the key priority of our activities.
As you know, last year the number of civilian casualties has significantly decreased, reaching the lowest level since the beginning of the conflict. This trend continues. According to preliminary data of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission, no civilian deaths have been registered since the beginning of this year until the day before yesterday.
This is a clear achievement of our work here, in Minsk.
Drawing on my more than three years of experience, I would like once again to emphasise my full commitment to the Minsk Agreements and personal conviction that they are indispensable and irreplaceable for a peaceful resolution of the conflict in the east of Ukraine.
This is our common task – mine, that of the Coordinators of the Working Groups and of all the participants of the Minsk process – to do our utmost for their swift and full implementation.
At the end of last week, on 25 January 2019, a teleconference of Diplomatic Advisers of the Normandy Four took place. It was agreed to give priority to certain humanitarian issues, such as improved access to and crossing of the line of contact, the exchange of detainees, the preservation of vital civilian infrastructure and many others. Accordingly, these topics have become the subject to discussion today for the TCG and its Working Groups.
The Economic Working Group discussed topical issues of water deliveries, including preparations for the audit of the “Voda Donbasa” company. The intended duration of the audit is one year. Together with a few others, issues concerning the payment of pensions to residents of certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions (CADR and CALR) were also considered.
This was the first meeting of the Economic Working Group that was led by its new Co-ordinator, the former German Ambassador to the Russian Federation, Ulrich Brandenburg.
On behalf of the TCG and myself, I once again congratulate Mr Brandenburg on his appointment and wish him success on this post.
In the Working Group on Security, the main topic of discussion was the general security situation in the conflict zone and issues of compliance with the ceasefire.
The Humanitarian Working Group paid attention, inter alia, to the discussion of issues related to the exchange of detainees.
The Political Working Group took forward its exchanges on its well-known agenda, namely the implementation of the ‘Steinmeier formula’, amnesty and the modalities of local elections in CADR and CALR as stipulated by the Minsk agreements.”