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Parties to conflict in Ukraine in favor of Easter truce

Politics 24.04.2019 | 20:02
Martin Sajdik. An archive photo
Martin Sajdik. An archive photo

MINSK, 24 April (BelTA) – The parties to the conflict in Ukraine support the idea of an Easter truce but have failed to agree a joint statement, BelTA learned from the OSCE's special representative in the trilateral contact group on resolving the situation in Ukraine's east Martin Sajdik after a session of the contact group in Minsk on 24 April.

The diplomat said: “The sides are in favor of the Easter truce idea as a matter of principle, but, unfortunately, they've been unable to come up with a unified text of the statement. I hope that in practice the parties will refrain from combat actions, in particular, for the duration of the forthcoming Easter and May festivities.”

Confirming dedication of the parties to the ceasefire due to the forthcoming Easter celebration was the key item on the agenda of the meeting of the subgroup on security.

The subgroup on humanitarian affairs continued discussing the exchange of captives and their accommodation conditions. The subgroup on economic affairs discussed water supply together with the new head of the delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross to Ukraine Florence Gillette. In particular, the subgroup discussed major overhaul of a water conduit in Lugansk Oblast. The subgroup on political affairs discussed current topical issues. According to Martin Sajdik, the subgroup discussed the decree the Russian president signed today to introduce a simplified procedure for issuing Russian passports to residents of certain parts of Lugansk Oblast and Donetsk Oblast of Ukraine. “I have always supported the letter and the spirit of the Minsk agreements, which stem from the ideas of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Martin Sajdik noted in response to this novelty.

Martin Sajdik also congratulated Ukrainian citizens on the latest presidential election, which had proceeded in accordance with international standards. He welcomed the statement made by the future president of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, who said Ukraine would act within the framework of the Normandy format and would continue the Minsk process. “The continuation of the Minsk process is the most important thing for me,” Martin Sajdik noted.

Apart from that, Martin Sajdik reminded that Joseph Stone, a member of the OSCE special monitoring mission to Ukraine, was killed in a car explosion in Lugansk Oblast two years ago. Martin Sajdik said: “I fully support efforts of Ambassador Ertugrul Apakan, head of the special monitoring mission, to prevent a repeat of such things.” He also stressed that the special monitoring mission to Ukraine is the largest mission in the OSCE's history. “I insist that the parties to the conflict should ensure the safety of personnel and property of the special monitoring mission and should enable conditions for the mission's unhindered work in line with its mandate. This is why I would like to remind you that a long-range unmanned aerial vehicle of the OSCE special monitoring mission crashed near the contact line in Donetsk Oblast on 18 April. It was the third case like that over the course of approximately one year. Flying drones are serious and expensive pieces of equipment, which are paid for out of budgets of the countries taking part in the mission, in other words, by their taxpayers,” the diplomat noted.

Due to the forthcoming festivities the next meeting of the trilateral contact group on Ukraine will take place in Minsk on 22 May. Video conferences may be held before that if necessary.

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