BERLIN / VIENNA, 18 February 2016 – The mandate of the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) was extended today by the OSCE Permanent Council to 31 March 2017, a move welcomed by the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Secretary General Lamberto Zannier.
“We have thereby ensured that the SMM can continue to perform and enlarge its important role in stabilizing the ceasefire in implementation of the Minsk accords,” said Steinmeier.
“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!”
Steinmeier thanked the Chief Monitor of the SMM Ertugrul Apakan and all members of the Mission for their tireless work, “often performed under dangerous conditions”. Steinmeier also paid tribute to all those who support the SMM with personnel, technical equipment and funding. “Without them all, we would not be where we are today with respect to implementing the Minsk agreements.”
The OSCE Secretary General noted that the monitors do an outstanding job despite the difficult security situation.
“I remind all sides in the conflict of their obligations under the Minsk agreements and the need to ensure unfettered and safe access for monitors as they carry out their mandate,” said Zannier. “The monitors will continue to work on verifying the withdrawal of weapons and strengthening national dialogue to help achieve a sustainable peace and restore stability.”
In the decision taken today, the approved SMM budget for the period 1 April 2016-31 March 2017 is €98.8 million.
The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission was launched in March 2014 in response to the crisis in and around Ukraine.
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