Efforts Need to be Pursued Within Minsk and Normandy Formats to Achieve Peace in Donbas – OSCE Chairperson-in-Office

Efforts Need to be Pursued Within Minsk and Normandy Formats to Achieve Peace in Donbas – OSCE Chairperson-in-Office
14 September 2019

The Minsk and Normandy formats remain relevant. To stop the war in Donbas, renewed effort is required, said Miroslav Lajčák, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic and OSCE Chairperson-in-Office at the 16th Yalta European Strategy (YES) Annual Meeting, “Happiness Now. New Approaches for a World in Crisis”, organised by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation.

“Minsk is what we have, and it was signed at a given time, under a given set of circumstances, and it has not been sincerely implemented. Now we have momentum, we have pressure, we have commitment. It would be detrimental to the whole process if we started questioning the basis, which is Minsk, or the format, which is Normandy. We have what we have, and let’s use it to the maximum extent. Otherwise, I would say those who are not interested in solving the problem, in stopping the war, or in restoring the territorial integrity of Ukraine, are exactly the people who might question those formats, those who are interested would use it, this is clear,” he said.

Miroslav Lajcak also expressed hope for a continuation of the exchange of prisoners. “One of the most immediate steps is to continue the exchange of prisoners and detained persons. From what I hear from our Ukrainian partners, there is a commitment to continue. This is fundamentally important. It is about improving the lives of hundreds and thousands of people, and is also a confidence building measure. I was pleased to hear from my interlocutors in Kyiv, that this is on the cards, it is on the agenda. This is one of the most immediate steps to take if we want the conversation to continue,” he said.

At the same time, according to the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, it is too early to speak about introducing a peacekeeping force to Donbas. “In order for the peacekeepers to be able to start working, we first need disengagement of forces. There is still no peace, and people are still dying. We need to have the troops withdrawn first, and then think about how to keep peace, how to introduce the peacekeeping mission and monitor how the agreement is respected.” Miroslav Lajcak stressed.

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