MINSK, 9 November – The Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) Martin Sajdik made the following press statement after the meeting of the TCG and its four Working Groups in Minsk on 9 November 2016:
“Last time we met in Minsk was on 26 October 2016. On 29 October, the TCG convened via video conferencing and this was also attended by representatives from certain areas of Luhansk and Donetsk regions and representatives of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (SMM) and the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC).
Today’s meetings had the following outcomes in the area of security:
1. The participants noted the increase of tension along the contact line and of cease-fire violations, including the use of mortars and artillery;
2. They continued to discuss the completion of the disengagement of forces and hardware in the three pilot areas, and the identification of new areas;
3. Further steps for demining were discussed;
4. The need for full implementation of the decisions on the withdrawal of heavy weapons as well as demining was underlined.
Among the political issues, the discussion centered on modalities of the local elections, including the discussion of the so-called «Steinmeier formula».
With regard to humanitarian issues, the Coordinator of the Humanitarian Working Group, Ambassador Toni Frisch informed about his trip to certain areas of Luhansk and Donetsk regions in the period of October 25 to 29 where he met persons detained in the context of the conflict. This is the Ambassador’s fourth visit to certain areas of Luhansk and Donetsk areas, but it was the first time he could meet with detainees.
The humanitarian issues were discussed for two days, 8 and 9 November. In particular, the issue of assistance to internally displaced persons, pensioners and other vulnerable groups were covered. Special attention was paid to improving conditions at crossing points on the contact line, in particular, in Stanytsia Luhanska, where the approach to the pedestrian bridge is planned to be repaired with assistance of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Besides, the opening of a new crossing point in Zolote was discussed.
A detailed consideration was given to a possible acceleration in the process of releasing persons detained in the context of the conflict.
I am pleased to note a tangible improvement of the atmosphere in the discussion of humanitarian issues, and I therefore hope for progress in this area in the near future. Further improvement of security conditions, including full compliance with the ceasefire, would certainly facilitate this process.”