VIENNA, April 4. /TASS/. The decision to prolong the mandate of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) in Ukraine was made against the backdrop of Kiev’s attempts to restrict the observers’ monitoring opportunities, Russia’s OSCE envoy Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday.
"We welcome the decision to prolong the SMM mandate and to adopt the mission’s budget. It was made against the backdrop of Ukraine’s attempts to restrict the SMM’s opportunities to carry out monitoring and promote the protection of human rights, including the rights of ethnic minorities (which incidentally is part of its mandate)," Lukashevich said at a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna.
He expressed the hope that the Slovak presidency-proposed compromise formula for enhancing the human rights aspect of the SMM activities "will promote the mission’s effectiveness in this sphere."
At the end of March the OSCE Permanent Council prolonged the OSCE SMM mandate in Ukraine for another year. The mission’s current mandate expires on March 31.
On June 1, 2019 Yasar Halit Cevic will succeed Ertugrul Apakan as the OSCE SMM’s new chief. Cevic, a career diplomat, was Turkey’s ambassador to the United Nations in 2012-2016. Apakan has led the SMM since April 2, 2014.