Political will can yield concrete results on the ground, OSCE SMM Chief Monitor tells Permanent Council
VIENNA – The recent reduction in violence, following the Trilateral Contact Group’s adoption of additional measures to strengthen the ceasefire on 22 July, shows once again that with political will, concrete results can be achieved on the ground, said Yaşar Halit Çevik, Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, in his address to the OSCE Permanent Council yesterday, 8 October 2020, in Vienna.
While mines and unexploded ordnance have continued to claim lives since the measures came into effect on 27 July, the Chief Monitor in particular noted that no civilians had been killed or injured because of shelling or small-arms fire after 27 July. Other measures agreed by the TCG, however, remained to be implemented, he said. “The SMM can support further co-ordination between the sides, under its dialogue facilitation function, if the sides so request,” he said. “However, the SMM cannot become an adjudicator.”
Although somewhat improved since July, restrictions imposed by the armed formations on the contact line remain, which substantially hinder the movement of the Mission in areas not controlled by the Government, the Chief Monitor said. Combined with persistent freedom-of-movement restrictions, mostly in areas not controlled by the Government, and repeated electronic interference with, and live-fire targeting of, SMM unmanned aerial vehicles, the Chief Monitor said impediments to SMM monitoring of and reporting on the security situation remained.
The dangers of COVID-19 remain very much present, the Chief Monitor said. Having introduced a range of stringent mitigation measures into its operational procedures, the SMM will continue to strive to ensure that its mandate is fulfilled while ensuring the safety and well-being of Mission members, he emphasized.