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Contact Group on Ukraine urges all parties to conflict in Donbas to cease fire — OSCE

November 17, 2015, 21:09 UTC+3

The humanitarian subgroup has agreed to spare no effort to speed up the process of prisoner exchange, first of all of those sick and heavily wounded

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© AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky

MINSK, November 17. /TASS/. The Contact Group on the Ukrainian settlement has called on all parties to the conflict in Donbas to immediately cease fire and prevent possible frustration of the previous agreements and resumption of hostilities, Martin Sajdik, the envoy of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), said on Tuesday after Contact Group talks.

"In view of deteriorating security situation along the line of engagement [in Donbas], including serious violations of the ceasefire regime, the Contact Group urges the parties to the conflict to stop all actions that run counter to the agreements signed and peace settlement efforts under the Minsk process," he said.

He noted that the current aggravation was again claiming human lives and was a serious obstacle for the return of refugees and internally displaced people, for the delivery of relief aid and restoration of vital infrastructure and economic life. "It is necessary to take effort to prevent resumption of armed confrontation and possible frustration of agreements. Immediate normalization in the conflict zone is a binding provision of the Minsk agreements," he said.

He said the security subgroup had discussed reported ceasefire violations and had focused on demining works. "The sides are to exchange all information on demining by the end of November," the OSCE envoy said.

The humanitarian subgroup, in his words, has agreed to spare no effort to speed up the process of prisoner exchange, first of all of those sick and heavily wounded. "Four persons were released last week. Now serious negotiations are under way to continue exchanges," he said.

The Ukrainian side, according to Sajdik, had informed that two additional mobile bank offices on the platform of armored vehicles would be launched in the Luhansk region from Monday and in the Donetsk region from Wednesday.

The political subgroup, Sajdik said, had discussed the problem of local elections in Donbas and participation of Ukrainian political parties. Amnesty-related issues had been address too, he added.

The next meeting of the Contact Group will take place on November 24. "We still have time this year to solve what is envisaged by the Minsk agreements," he said.

The Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine comprising senior representatives from Russia, Ukraine and the European security watchdog OSCE on February 12, 2015, signed a 13-point Package of Measures to fulfil the September 2014 Minsk agreements. The package was agreed with the leaders of the Normandy Four, namely Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine.

The Package of Measures, known as Minsk-2, envisaged a ceasefire between Ukrainian government forces and people’s militias in the self-proclaimed republics in Donetsk and Luhansk starting from February 15 and subsequent withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of engagement. The deal also laid out a roadmap for a lasting settlement in Ukraine, including local elections and constitutional reform to give more autonomy to the war-torn eastern regions.

To spur up the work of the Contact Group, four working subgroups were set up within it on four key aspects of the Minsk agreements, namely on issues of security; on political issues; on issues of prisoner exchange and refuges; and on social, humanitarian and economic aspects.

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