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Miroslav Lajčák: Resolution of the Crisis in Eastern Ukraine is a priority for OSCE and Slovakia

Miroslav Lajčák: Resolution of the Crisis in Eastern Ukraine is a priority for OSCE and Slovakia

29.11.2019 | Aktivity ministra | Predsedníctvo Slovenska v OBSE

With his visit to Ukraine (28-29 November 2019), Miroslav Lajčák, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic ended his series of visits this year in his capacity of the Chairperson-in-Office of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The main item on the agenda of the Slovak minister in Ukraine was to see the restored bridge in the Luhanska Station, where he went together with the deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Jehor Bozhok. Miroslav Lajčák expressed Slovakia’s full support for Ukrainian independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within the internationally recognized borders. “Ukraine is our biggest neighbour, and we sincerely wish there to be peace in your country, which is a prerequisite for stability in Europe,” emphasized the chief Slovak diplomat and the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office. He also acknowledged the effort of President Volodymyr Zelensky in his aim to achieve peace in the occupied territories. Miroslav Lajčák expressed his hope that the upcoming Normandy Four Summit in Paris would give a strong impetus to the implementation of the Minsk agreements in their full scope, as well as to diplomatic negotiations for the peaceful resolution of the conflict.

 

The minister accentuated that now, five years after the onset of the conflict, it is necessary to mobilize efforts to achieve a real ceasefire, restore a sustainable armistice by withdrawing troops and heavy artillery from the line of contact, and take further steps in the context of the Minsk Agreements. In this regard, he acknowledged the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission and the irreplaceable role of its monitors in supporting the implementation process of the OSCE commitments and the Minsk Agreements under complex security conditions.

 

During his visit to the Luhanska Station, Miroslav Lajčák emphasized that the effort to make a shift in the resolution of the conflict in this region and to mitigate the suffering of the people afflicted by it, is one of the priorities of Slovakia’s chairmanship in the OSCE. “This is my fourth visit to Ukraine in my capacity of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, which reflects the extraordinary importance that I assign to the crisis in the East of Ukraine. Seeking a sustainable peaceful resolution continues to remain the main priority of the OSCE,” stated Miroslav Lajčák. The minister added that the Slovak chairmanship in the OSCE has also focused on the humanitarian aspect of the conflict in Ukraine and proposed, already at the beginning of the year, nine trust-building measures. The first on the list was the repair of the damaged access to the bridge at the Luhanska Station over the Donets river. “The Slovak chairmanship in the OSCE has pursued the idea of the bridge repair at all levels. It was also the theme of my first meeting with President Volodymyr Zelensky in June this year. The bridge has become the symbol of the manifestation of good will. I call upon all the participating parties to keep this good trend going and continue to take further steps, such as opening new passages through the line of contact, exchanging detainees, creating protection zones in the vicinity of important civilian infrastructure and the further mine clearance???, inter alia,” added Miroslav Lajčák. He underlined the humanitarian dimension of his mission by handing three ambulances over to the local authorities. “Our mission in the OSCE chairmanship has been carried out in the spirit of solidarity with people afflicted by conflicts. We have, therefore, focused on the improvement of the living conditions of those who are forced to bear the sufferings due to armed conflicts. It is an honour for me to symbolically hand over the Slovak humanitarian aid to the representatives of the international medical aid team and I hope that it will help improve the difficult living conditions of people living in the East of Ukraine,” stated the Slovak minister, who symbolically started the series of visits in his capacity of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and also symbolically ended it there.

 

The OSCE chairmanship, which the Slovak Republic assumed on 1 January this year, will culminate with the annual meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council in Bratislava, on 5-6 December 2019. The event will host representatives of the 57 participating and 11 partner states, international and non-governmental organisations and hundreds of delegates. It will be a unique opportunity to evaluate the fulfilment of the priorities of our chairmanship but also a chance to set the direction of the Organisation for the upcoming year.