MINSK, 3 March 2016 – The Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) Ertugrul Apakan welcomed the decisions on mine action and prohibition of live-fire exercises, endorsed yesterday in Minsk by the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG).
As the co-ordinator of the TCG’s working group on security issues, the SMM Chief Monitor Apakan facilitated elaboration of both decisions.
“The SMM welcomes both decisions and will help support their implementation through monitoring and reporting, in line with its mandate,” said Apakan.
“The Memorandum, endorsed in Minsk in September 2014, foresees the creation of a security zone of the non-use of weapons. Ukrainians throughout Donetsk and Luhansk regions are very much living in a dangerous, and sometimes fatally dangerous environment,” said Apakan.
Apakan also said that these decisions provide a framework for all involved to contribute to safety and security. “The signatories have called for an end to live-fire training and exercises near the contact line, and for steps to reduce the threat still posed by mines, which will also facilitate repair of vital infrastructure. The SMM will support all involved in their efforts towards normalization, and will monitor and report impartially and objectively on progress.”