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05 December 2017, 19:58

Safety of civilians in spotlight during Minsk talks of trilateral contact group on Ukraine

MINSK, 5 December (BelTA) – The safety of the civilian population in the conflict zone in Ukraine's east remains a priority for the trilateral contact group on Ukraine, BelTA learned from the OSCE's special representative in the trilateral contact group on Ukraine Martin Sajdik on 5 December.

According to the OSCE special monitoring mission to Ukraine, the number of ceasefire violations in Ukraine's east has been high recently. The diplomat said: “This is why the safety of the civilian population and the observance of the ceasefire regime were high on the agenda of the trilateral contact group and its working group today just like during the previous session.” In his words, participants of the negotiations once again underlined the need to meticulously observe the ceasefire regime. It is particularly important in close proximity to civilian infrastructure installations.

Participants of the session of the subgroup on security affairs confirmed security guarantees for the duration of repairs of a wooden bridge at the checkpoint in Stanitsa Luganskaya on 9-10 December. The checkpoint will be closed for the duration of the repairs in order to expedite the operation. Participants of the session praised mine clearance and the shrubbery cleanup effort at all the checkpoints, including Zolotoye. It was mentioned that the work will be finished by 20 December. Apart from that, the subgroup discussed the separation of forces and assets and the withdrawal of heavy weapon systems.

The exchange of prisoners of war was discussed during the session of the humanitarian affairs subgroup. Some technical moments were discussed. The sides have not determined the date of exchange yet, but promised it would be done before the New Year and Christmas celebrations, said Martin Sajdik.

The subgroup on economic affairs continued discussing overdue payments for water and the signing of water supply contracts as part of the Karbonit system. The operation of the local water supply enterprise was discussed as well. According to Martin Sajdik, the subgroup on economic affairs secured some advance in the development of possible procedures for settling the debts owed to former employees of Ukrainian Railways in several parts of Donetsk Oblast and Lugansk Oblast.

The subgroup on political affairs continued discussing the so-called Steinmeier formula and its future implementation.

The trilateral contact group on Ukraine will reconvene in Minsk on 20 December. It will be the last meeting this year.

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