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OSCE assessment group goes to Russia’s Rostov region

July 16, 2014, 17:49 UTC+3 VIENNA
OSCE may make the decision to extend the mandate of the OSCE observer mission in Ukraine by another six months already on July 17
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© ITAR-TASS/Stanislav Krasilnikov

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© AP/TASS TV
VIENNA, July 16. /ITAR-TASS/. An assessment group of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) went to Russia’s southern Rostov Region on Wednesday, July 16, to lay the ground for the organisation’s mission that will monitor the Russian-Ukrainian border, an OSCE Secretariat official told ITAR-TASS.

He said the group would stay in the Rostov Region until Saturday, July 19, and then return to Vienna to prepare proposals on the deployment of a large-scale mission in the area.

While in Russia, members of the group will meet with representatives of the Customs and Border Guard Services and the regional authorities and visit the Donetsk and Gukovo border crossing points.

The OSCE official said it remained unclear whether the monitoring of the border would be carried out by the present Special Monitoring Mission or a new mission would have to be created.

Diplomatic sources told ITAR-TASS that the former option was preferable.

Earlier this week, the Russian Foreign Ministry said it had invited OSCE observers to the Gukovo and Donetsk border crossing points even before a ceasefire was reached in the south-east of Ukraine.

On Tuesday, July 15, Swiss President and Chairperson-in-Office of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Didier Burkhalter said, after telephone calls with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavel Klimkin, that he would ask the OSCE member states to approve the deployment of monitors to the crossing points on the Russian-Ukrainian border.

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The political crisis in Ukraine led to the formation of many armed groups on its territory. Infographics by ITAR-TASS
With both sides showing their political will, the OSCE is ready to assume these obligations, Burkhalter said.

Andrei Kelin, Russia’s permanent representative to the OSCE, said Moscow was ready to receive the monitors at any time even without the decision of the OSCE Standing Committee. He said no decision of the Standing Committee was necessary for that.

The monitors have been invited for a period of up to three months.

The Permanent Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) may make the decision to extend the mandate of the OSCE observer mission in Ukraine by another six months already on July 17, Spokesperson of the Swiss OSCE Chairmanship Roland Bless said Wednesday.

“It looks like the decision will be made tomorrow,” Bless told ITAR-TASS.

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