VIENNA, March 11. /TASS/. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) refused to comment on Ukrainian diplomat’s claims that the issue of elections in Donbass was removed from the agenda of the discussions in Minsk.
"The principle of "silent diplomacy" and sensitive negotiations implies that one should not comment on what this or the other person said and various reports or speculations in the press," an OSCE spokesperson said.
The elections in the self-proclaimed Ukrainian republics of Donetsk and Lugansk (DPR and LPR) and a constitutional reform to grant a greater autonomy to those regions remain the key elements of Package of Measures for the implementation of the Minsk agreements, signed by members of the Contact Group in early 2015. Kiev has repeatedly delayed the implementation of those clauses, citing security reasons.
Kiev’s representative to the political subgroup of the Contact Group Olga Ayvazovskaya said in a TV interview Thursday that "the issue of the (Donbass) elections has been removed from the agenda (of the Minsk talks) particularly due to the negotiations and the position of Ukraine."
After the media circulated her statement, Ayvazovskaya said she tried to mitigate her position.
"Yesterday I said that the issue of conducting elections on the occupied territories has been removed from agenda. This is true because Ukraine has always been emphasizing that security comes first. That said, elections in Donbass cannot be conducted in accordance with international standards. I can’t understand why my statement caused such agitation," she wrote on Facebook.
However, Ayvazovskaya admitted that political reforms in Ukraine needed to be implemented as part of the Minsk agreements.
The participants of the Contact Group on Ukraine signed the Package of Measures for the implementation of the Minsk agreements on February 12, 2015. Apart from the ceasefire and weapons withdrawal, the document also stipulates a deep constitutional reform aimed at decentralizing power and conducting regional elections in Donbass. However, this plan has not been implemented yet. Ukraine’s authorities have been refusing to fulfill the political provisions of the document saying that security issues need to be tackled first.
On March 9, after meeting with German top diplomat Sigmar Gabriel, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called for facilitating the work on the road map for settling the situation in Donbass. As for the political process, Lavrov pointed to the decisions made by the leaders of the Normandy Quartet (Russia, Germany, France, Ukraine) "that envisage simultaneous steps to fulfill political and security obligations.".