OSCE ‘not satisfied’ with status quo in eastern Ukraine

January 4, 2017 10:08 pm

Sebastian Kurz, the Austrian foreign minister and the new head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in (OSCE) (Photo by AFP)

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which is tasked with monitoring truce agreements in eastern , says it is displeased with the status quo in the region despite the fact that the conflict has generally subsided.
“We want to make efforts to see change for the better,” said the OSCE’s new chairman, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz.
He made the remark on Wednesday after a visit to the Ukrainian government-held areas near the territory under the control of pro-Russia forces.
Kurz called for the full implementation of a broad ceasefire deal reached in early 2015, which is known as the Minsk agreement. The OSCE, he said, was “not satisfied with the status quo we have now.”
The conflict in eastern Ukraine erupted in 2014 after a series of political developments in the capital, Kiev. The conflict has claimed more than 10,000 lives while international initiatives meant for putting an end to the violence have all been in vain.
Kurz said, however, that the general situation in the east of Ukraine is currently much better than the early months of the conflict.
“Although there are many concerns surrounding the state of these (truce) agreements, I must say that the situation at the time of their signing was worse than it is now,” he said, adding, “And it could be even worse.”
The relatively young Austrian diplomat also called on those seeking an armed police force to monitor the implementation of the truce to revise their expectations and be more “realistic.”
The government in Kiev, which accuses Russia of having a hand in the conflict, has repeatedly called for the deployment of a peacekeeping force so that an alleged transfer of weapons and forces from Russia to eastern areas could be cut. Moscow denies Kiev’s accusation.
The pro-Russia forces, who call the territory under their control simply the People’s Republic, have resisted the deployment.
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