Foreign Minister Steinmeier, who is this year OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, issued the following statement today (18 February) on the decision to extend the mandate of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine:
I am glad that we have today succeeded in extending the mandate of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) by a further year, to the end of March 2017. We also adopted a new budget for the mission, which totals almost 100 million euros. We have thereby ensured that the SMM can continue to perform and enlarge its important role in stabilising the ceasefire in implementation of the Minsk accords.
Nearly 700 monitors from 46 OSCE participating States work day by day to give us objective data on compliance with the ceasefire and on the withdrawal of weapons in eastern Ukraine. Unfortunately, they have reported that the ceasefire remains fragile and that the Mission still does not have full access to the entire conflict zone. If we want to make headway on implementing the Minsk agreements, progress must finally be made on these points. All sides are called upon to comply strictly with the ceasefire and to finally grant the SMM unhindered access to the entire conflict area – with no exceptions!
I would like to thank Ambassador Apakan, the head of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, and all members of the Mission for their tireless work, often performed under dangerous conditions. I would also like to thank all those who support the SMM by providing personnel, technical equipment and funding. Without them all, we would not be where we are today with respect to implementing the Minsk agreements.