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Contact group hails reduction in ceasefire violations in eastern Ukraine

Politics 15.03.2018 | 10:50
Martin Sajdik
Martin Sajdik

MINSK, 15 March (BelTA) – The trilateral contact group on Ukraine hailed a significant reduction in the number of ceasefire violations, Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group, Ambassador Martin Sajdik, made the following statement to the press after the meeting of the trilateral contact group ‎and its working groups in Minsk on 14 March 2018, BelTA informs.

On 2 March the trilateral contact group, with the participation of the representatives of certain areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions, re-affirmed full commitment to a comprehensive, sustainable and unlimited ceasefire, starting from 5 March 2018.

“Following this statement and as facilitated by the sides' efforts, recently it has become possible to significantly reduce the average number of ceasefire violations to one of the lowest levels over the past two years,” Martin Sajdik said.

In 2018, it has also been possible to achieve a significant reduction in the number of civilian casualties. Compared to the corresponding period in the previous year, the respective number has declined three times, according to the preliminary data provided by the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission. “All this clearly demonstrates that with the political will numerous achievements can be accomplished,” the diplomat emphasized.

Further adherence to the cessation of fire and the general situation in the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine were the main discussion topics of the Working Group on Security on 14 March. The participants stressed that the successful implementation of ceasefire requires strict adherence to the previously agreed principles, including avoiding forward movements and reconnaissance missions, withdrawal of heavy weapons, especially from populated areas, and so on.

One of the major issues under discussion at the Economic Working Group meeting was the operation of the mobile network Vodafone-Ukraine. With the participation of the representative of Vodafone-Ukraine, the Working Group continued to discuss practical steps necessary to re-establish and ensure mobile communication in certain areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions. The participants of the Working Group discussed the issues of water deliveries in the supply systems "Karbonyt" and "Voda Donbassa", repayment of arrears to former employees of the Ukrainian Railways in certain areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions as well as the return of freight cars currently located in the non-government controlled areas of Ukraine.

The Working Group on Humanitarian Issues continued the discussion of issues related to the exchange of detainees.

The participants of the Political Working Group exchanged views on the future implementation of the so-called ‘Steinmeier formula', amnesty, local elections and the special status of certain areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions as stipulated by the Minsk Agreements. According to the Coordinator of the Working Group, Ambassador Pierre Morel, close cooperation between the trilateral contact group and its working groups with the ‘Normandy Four' plays a very important role.

On 14 March the meeting of the trilateral contact group in the Belarusian capital took place without OSCE Special Representative Martin Sajdik. The diplomat could not fly to Minsk due to bad weather in Kiev. The trilateral contact group will reconvene in Minsk on 4 April.

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