: :inin Kyiv (EET)

U.S. Mission to OSCE: Police mission in Donbas should be first discussed by Ukraine, Russia

Ambassador of the United States Daniel B. Baer to the OSCE Permanent Council has said that the issue of deployment of the OSCE armed police mission in the east of Ukraine is not on the agenda of a summit in Hamburg, and should be discussed by Ukraine and Russia.

”Whether there`s a need for other tools from the international community, whether that`s from the OSCE, or others in the international community, I think that`s really a question that needs to be discussed by, first and foremost, by Russia and Ukraine, and they can do that within the context of the Trilateral Contact Group of Russia, Ukraine, and the OSCE,” Baer said during a phone press conference, answering a question of an UNIAN correspondent.

”Obviously, the Normandy Powers – that`s France and Germany – have been working also to mediate between Russia and Ukraine to try to find a way forward that is successful in advancing implementation of the Minsk Agreements, and I think we should remain open-minded about what might be needed to support implementation of the Minsk Agreements, but I don`t think we`re yet at the point where there would be a consensus decision to move forward with some additional kind of mission. That doesn`t mean that there won`t be at some point in the future but right now, I think the priority is really on getting disengagement on the line of contact, getting the weapons pulled back from the line of contact that has been committed to in getting that sustained ceasefire so that full implementation of the Minsk Agreement can move forward,” he said.

”I think ministers will have a wide-ranging discussion about the ongoing crisis that is the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, and the attempted annexation of Crimea, and they will offer, I would imagine, a variety of perspectives on how we can resolve that. I think – what I expect – is that there will be a refrain – as there has been in the past – there will be a refrain in support of full implementation of the Minsk Agreement, and particularly a number of calls upon the Russian Federation to do in actions what it has committed to do in words with respect to the Minsk Agreement,” Baer stressed.

In addition, the U.S. ambassador said that the ministers recognize the role of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Donbas.

”In terms of the particular question of an election security presence or something like that, I think it`s very important to be clear that the special monitoring mission to Ukraine – the OSCE special monitoring mission to Ukraine – which is already on the ground, as you know, is a civilian, unarmed mission with a clear mandate that it is fulfilling except where it is prevented from fulfilling that mandate because its access is restricted by the Russia-backed separatists, but it is fulfilling its mandate and it should continue to do that, and I think we should acknowledge – and I expect many ministers will acknowledge – the role that the SMM is playing in terms of getting objective, fact-based reporting out to the international community as well as the people inside Ukraine, so that they know what the SMM is seeing on the ground,” he added.


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