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Compliance with ceasefire key condition for Ukraine peace settlement - OSCE chairman

September 18, 2014, 0:54 UTC+3 VIENNA
Didier Burkhalter referred in particular to the adoption of a law on the special status of some districts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions in Ukraine’s embattled southeast in early September
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VIENNA, September 18. /ITAR-TASS/. Compliance with the regime of cessation of fire in Ukraine is the key condition for peace settlement in the country, Swiss President Didier Burkhalter, who is the chairman-in-office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), said in a statement on Wednesday.

Burkhalter referred in particular to the adoption of a law on the special status of some districts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions in Ukraine’s embattled southeast in early September, and a law on amnesty for participants of hostilities in the war-torn region.

“He also considered it an encouraging signal that numerous detainees from both sides have been released in the last few days. These were major steps that could pave the way towards a lasting solution of the crisis, Burkhalter stressed,” the OSCE said in its statement posted on its website.

“Regarding the commitment reached in the Minsk protocol on ensuring the immediate cessation of the use of weapons, Burkhalter underlined the importance of stabilizing the ceasefire and avoiding any erosion of this commitment,” the statement said.

“A comprehensive ceasefire regime and a common understanding on the details of a monitoring mechanism need to be established, he said. The OSCE has been assisting in monitoring the ceasefire as well as in verifying information and has doubled the number of monitors in eastern Ukraine since the ceasefire was established,” it said.

The OSCE chairman-in-office also emphasized that the OSCE monitors present in the affected regions should be able to hope for effective security assurances from all parties to the conflict.

Burkhalter pointed to the need to restore effective control over the Ukrainian-Russian border, which, he said, would be a “key prerequisite for a lasting solution”. Under the Minsk protocol, “particular attention should now be given to establishing a security zone along the border and effective monitoring of the border,” the OSCE said.

Ukraine’s parliament on Tuesday passed the law granting a special self-rule status to certain districts in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions for three years. Elections to local self-government bodies were set for December 7.

The special status law was stipulated by the Minsk agreements reached September 5 in the Belarusian capital on the basis of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s seven-point plan proposed two days before.

The Rada also passed a law on amnesty for participants of combat activities in Ukraine’s troubled eastern regions except for those people who committed serious crimes.

According to UN data, clashes between troops loyal to Kiev and local militias in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions during Kiev’s military operation to regain control over the breakaway territories, which call themselves the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s republics (DPR and LPR), have killed some 3,000 people.

The parties to the conflict agreed on cessation of fire during the OSCE-mediated talks in Minsk. The long hoped-for ceasefire took effect the same day (September 5), but reports have said it has been violated several times.

The claims by the West and Ukraine's leaders in Kiev that Russia is participating in hostilities in Ukraine have led to sectoral sanctions against Moscow on the part of Western nations. Russia, which has repeatedly denied any involvement in military operations in Ukraine’s southeast, has had to impose retaliatory punitive measures in response.

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