“We support the extension of the mission’s previous mandate. We understand that the mission has come to stay (in Ukraine) seriously and for the long haul,” Kelin said.
Earlier on Wednesday, Roland Bless, a spokesperson for the Swiss OSCE Chairmanship, told ITAR-TASS that the OSCE Permanent Council might decide on extening the OSCE observer mission in Ukraine already on July 17. He said the probability was strong that the decision would be passed on Thursday. He also confirmed that the mission’s main parameters such as the size, the powers and the geographical reach would remain the same.All the 20 OSCE member countries approved the current OSCE mandate, which is due to expire on September 21, on March 20 this year. The OSCE observer mission is to set up branches in 10 Ukrainian cities, such as Kherson, Odessa, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kharkiv, Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk, Chernivtsi and Luhansk with the head office in Kiev.
Didier Burkhalter, the incumbent OSCE chairperson-in-office, said after telephone conversations with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavel Klimkin, late on Tuesday that he was considering a possibility to extend the OSCE mission in Ukraine for another six months after September 20, 2014 at Ukraine’s request. He also added the decision might be passed before the end of July.