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16 January 2020, 18:37

OSCE calls for more vigorous mine clearance in Ukraine's Donbass

Heidi Grau. Photo courtesy of KEYSTONE/SALVATORE DI NOLFI
Heidi Grau. Photo courtesy of KEYSTONE/SALVATORE DI NOLFI

MINSK, 16 January (BelTA) – The special representative of the OSCE chairperson-in-office in Ukraine and in the trilateral contact group on resolving the situation in Ukraine's east Heidi Grau called for parties to the conflict to step up mine clearance efforts. The diplomat made the relevant statement as she summed up results of today's session of the trilateral contact group in Minsk, BelTA has learned.

According to Heidi Grau, mines remain the top cause of deaths among civilians. “This is why I urge the sides to step up mine clearance efforts,” she said.

In 2019 the number of civilian casualties dropped considerably and reached the lowest figure on record since the beginning of the conflict. The number of ceasefire violations dropped noticeably in January 2020 in comparison with late 2019. It is worth noting that no child died last year, the diplomat stressed.

Heidi Grau hailed the exchange of captives in late December 2019. “It was a great breakthrough and a factor that builds up trust between the sides,” she noted.

This year's first meeting of the trilateral contact group on resolving the situation in Ukraine's east and its subgroups took place on 16 January. “Our work was primarily geared towards implementing the decisions formulated by the Normandy summit in Paris,” Heidi Grau said.

Discussion in the subgroup on security primarily revolved around the choice of additional areas for separating forces and assets. The subgroup on humanitarian affairs summed up results of the POW exchange that took place on 29 December 2019. The subgroup on economic affairs discussed water supply across the conflict line in certain areas of Donetsk Oblast and Lugansk Oblast.

The subgroup on political affairs talked over the special status of the certain areas of Donetsk Oblast and Lugansk Oblast. It also discussed the implementation of the Steinmeier formula into Ukrainian legislation.

The trilateral contact group on resolving the situation in Ukraine's east will reconvene on 29 January.

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