Delivered by Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the International Organizations in Vienna Ihor Prokopchuk at the OSCE Permanent Council meeting on 15 May 2014
I would like to start by offering our deepest condolences to Ambassador Apakan as representative of Turkey with regard to tragic events in Manisa in western Turkey which took lives of more than 230 coal miners and left hundreds trapped underground. I would also like to say the words of support to the relatives of miners who were killed in a coal mine explosion and wish a speedy recovery to the injured.
Ukraine warmly welcomes H.E. Ambassador Ertuğrul Apakan, Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine to the Permanent Council and thanks him for presentation of the first report of the mission.
The Special Monitoring Mission was set up upon request of the Government of Ukraine to help my country deal with significant security challenges in the face of the external aggression. I would like to express deep appreciation to you and all monitors of the SMM for the dedicated work in line with the agreed mandate which covers the entire territory of Ukraine within internationally recognized borders, including the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. The Permanent Council has put its confidence in you as the Chief Monitor to decide upon operational matters of the SMM activities and we are convinced that your experience and outstanding professionalism will continue to effectively guide the work of the mission in implementation of its mandate.
We note with satisfaction that the initial phase of establishment of the mission has been completed, good co-operation has been developed with the Ukrainian authorities and now efforts are underway to expand the number of monitors of the mission to the maximum strength envisaged by the relevant Permanent Council decision of 21 March 2014. Ukraine welcomes this expansion and encourages all participating States to support it through deploying monitors and financial contributions.
Reports of the mission represent a valuable source of impartial and objective information about developments on the ground in various regions of Ukraine. We welcome the increased frequency of producing such reports, as required by the situation, which also highlight the visible role of the OSCE in facilitating de-escalation and reducing of tensions.
Judging from your reports, the situation in western and central Ukraine, including Kiev, as well the southern part of the country remained generally calm throughout the reporting period. In contrast, the situation in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, where armed separatists and militants illegally seized numerous administrative buildings, was marked by consistent deterioration. The actions of illegal armed groups of separatists, who had committed murders, taken hostages, threatened, beaten up and abducted civilians, journalists and international representatives, generated the atmosphere of fear and intimidation with broad implications for the population there. It would be important that the SMM continues to maintain its focus on the developments there.
The committed crimes fall under qualification of terrorist acts, which necessitates an adequate response from the Ukrainian authorities to guarantee the life and safety of citizens and the exercise of their human rights.
We thank Ambassador Apakan and his deputy Mark Etherington for the significant contribution in securing release on 3 May 2014 of the OSCE military inspectors and their Ukrainian escort team who were taken hostage by the terrorist group in Slavyansk. At the same time we note that still there are no fewer than 30 persons held hostage in Slovyansk which must be released.
We welcome and appreciate the role of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine in assisting implementation of the initial de-escalation measures in accordance with the Geneva statement of 17 April 2014.
Ukraine has been and remains committed to the implementation of the Geneva agreement. The Government of Ukraine has undertaken concrete and meaningful steps to implement in good faith its provisions, including through active campaign to seize illegally-held arms from the population, developing a draft amnesty law for those who disarm and free illegally seized buildings, launching an inclusive political dialogue on constitutional reform and decentralization. The remaining barricades are cleared in the centre of Kyiv. Regular consultations have been launched by the Ukrainian authorities with the parties to the Geneva agreement to promote its implementation, we see value in continuation of such consultations.
As I informed the Permanent Council, on 28 April 2014 the OSCE Chief Monitor Ambassador Apakan and representatives of the parties to the Geneva agreement visited the Kyiv City State Administration to monitor the vacation of the building. The parties stated that the building was freed by protesters.
The Geneva statement also clearly stipulates that the initial de-escalation measures which include disarmament of illegal armed groups, freeing illegally seized buildings streets, squares and other public places are subject to immediate implementation wherever they are needed most, with the SMM playing a leading role in assisting Ukrainian authorities in their implementation. The developments in the country have shown that implementation of such measures is now most needed in two oblasts of eastern Ukraine and we do look forward to close co-operation with the SMM to this end. For effective implementation of de-escalatory measures full commitment of all parties to the Geneva agreement is needed to deliver upon its aim, which has not been the case yet.
Let me also highlight the launch by Ukrainian authorities of the National dialogue as a series of round tables of national unity on reform and stabilization agenda for Ukraine. This dialogue is based on the principles of inclusiveness, reaching out to and engaging representatives of the political parties, both from the national and regional level, of local authorities and self-governance, of civil society and academia. While the process itself is Ukraine-led and Ukraine-owned, we look forward to and appreciate its support by the Chairmanship in co-operation with the OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine and the SMM.
In conclusion, Mr Chairman, let me once again thank H.E. Ambassador Ertuğrul Apakan for his professional work as Chief Monitor, thank for the dedicated work of the entire team to effectively accomplish the mandate as well assure of the support of the Government of Ukraine for these activities.
Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.