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Security subgroup on Donbass settlement resumes work on disengagement document

July 14, 2016, 11:14 UTC+3 DONETSK
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DONETSK, July 14. /TASS/. The security subgroup of the Contact Group for the settlement of the situation in Ukraine’s south-eastern Donbass region has resumed the consultations that were launched in the Belarusian capital Minsk on Wednesday for agreeing on a document on the disengagement of the sides on the contact line, the press service of the chief negotiator of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), Denis Pushilin, told the Donetsk News Agency on Thursday.

"The security subgroup has begun consultations", the press service said.

On Wednesday, the security subgroup members decided to continue the work in Minsk until a consensus is reached on the document on the disengagement of the sides.

DPR insists on the soonest signing of the agreement. The document obliging the sides to withdraw forces and observe the buffer distance, will "deescalate tensions and considerably reduce the number of shelling attacks on cities."

On June 29, the Contact Group agreed on the disengagement of forces in the Petrovskoye and Zolotoye settlements. Units of the DPR and LPR republics and the Armed Forces of Ukraine should be separated from each other to a distance of 2 - 3 km, depending on terrain.

As Martin Sajdik, Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine, said after a meeting of the Contact Group for the settlement in eastern Ukraine on Wednesday, the Contact Group was preparing to sign a document on disengagement of forces in three new points in Donbass in the next two days. "The OSCE hopes to sign a document on the disengagement of forces in three new points in Donbass in the next few days. The security group will continue its work tonight, and possibly tomorrow, as its head (Ertugrul) Apakan hopes, it will sign the document in the format of a video conference," Sajdik said.

Sajdik also complained about the recently emerged difficulties linked to practical preparation by the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) of recommendations to disengage the forces. "Last week, the SMM deputy chief was denied the right to visit the sections at which the forces were supposed to be disengaged.

Boris Gryzlov, Russia’s representative in the Contact Group for the settlement in eastern Ukraine said for his part that another seven zones could be added to the existing three soon. "I would like to emphasize that they include territories adjacent to the checkpoints, which is extremely important for civilian security. The Contact Group is discussing whether all the checkpoints on the line of contact should become security zones," Gryzlov said. "For more effective control, it is necessary to strengthen the OSCE mission in the vicinity of the contact line," he added.

The political group is one of the four working subgroups in the Contact Group that were created for the intensification of the negotiations on a settlement in Donbass. Contact Group participants on February 12, 2015 met in Minsk to sign a package of measures agreed by the Normandy quartet (Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine) for the sake of implementing the Minsk accords. The set of measures included ceasefire, pullback of heavy weapons from the engagement line, a dialog on the restoration of social and economic ties between Kiev and Donbass, and also a reform of the Ukrainian Constitution for the purpose of decentralization and formalization of the "special status of some districts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.".

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