OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Foreign Minister of Serbia Mr. Ivica Dačić, German Foreign Minister Mr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Swiss Foreign Minister Mr. Didier Burkhalter met in Belgrade today at the Ministerial Meeting of the OSCE Troika. During the meeting, the Foreign Ministers of Serbia, Switzerland and Germany, together with the OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier, had an extensive exchange of views on different aspects of the situation in and around Ukraine. They reiterated that this crisis can be resolved only through peaceful means and that the political process in that regard should be advanced without delay.
The Ministers also called on all sides to fully and unconditionally respect the cease-fire, cease all hostilities and implement all provisions from the Minsk agreements, including the withdrawal of heavy weapons. They expressed their serious concern over the increase in ceasefire violations, most notably in Shyrokyne and around Donetsk airport. They underlined that renewed hostilities and the massing of heavy weapons as reported by the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) are in breach of the February 12 Package of Measures for the implementation of the Minsk agreements and called on all signatories of the Minsk agreements to honor their existing commitments.
They expressed full support for the work of the Special Representative of the Chairperson-in-Office to the Trilateral Contact Group, Ambassador Heidi Tagliavini, in particular on the establishment of Working Groups, and stressed that the political process was essential to overcome the crisis. Foreign Ministers Dačić, Steinmeier and Burkhalter called for the immediate establishment of Working Groups as provided for in the February 12 Package of Measures for the implementation of the Minsk agreements and proposed by Special Representative Ambassador Heidi Tagliavini and the Trilateral Contact Group. In that context, they called upon all sides to a first meeting in Minsk as soon as possible.
Following consultations by the Ministers on the names of the OSCE representatives to the Working Groups, the Chairman-in-Office appointed the following candidates:
- WG Security: The Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine
- WG Political Affairs: Amb Pierre Morel
- WG Economic Affairs: Thomas Mirow
- WG Humanitarian Affairs: Amb Heidi Tagliavini (ad interim)
The OSCE Ministerial Troika reiterated its full support for the work of the SMM on the implementation of the Package of Measures for the implementation of the Minsk agreements. The Ministers commended the persistent efforts of the SMM to achieve a comprehensive ceasefire and withdrawal of all heavy weapons.
They welcomed in particular the efforts of the SMM to promote additional measures towards de-escalating the situation, such as facilitating ceasefire arrangements and promoting disengagement in Shyrokyne. They urged all sides to fully support this effort, to fully respect and ensure the safety and security of SMM monitors, as well as to enable full and unimpeded access of monitors in the fulfilment of the SMM mandate. The Ministers welcomed the SMM's improved access to satellite imagery, increased patrolling and more focused coverage of hotspots, as well as plans to strengthen its aerial surveillance capacity. They highlighted their support to the SMM for further improvements.
The OSCE Troika partners discussed plans to convene a high level meeting in Helsinki in early July. Besides marking the 40th anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act, the meeting will provide an opportunity for high-level informal discussions of the OSCE’s role in addressing the crisis in and around Ukraine and the broader fundamental challenges this crisis presents to European security.
The Ministers also discussed the ongoing work of the Panel of Eminent Persons, whose members are examining ways to reconsolidate European security as a common project. Launched by the OSCE Troika at the OSCE Ministerial Council in December 2014, a first interim report by the Panel on lessons learned from the OSCE engagement in Ukraine will be presented in June.