Current information by Ambassador Martin Sajdik

OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Frank-Walter Steinmeier appointed Ambassador Martin Sajdik as his Special Representative in Ukraine and to the Trilateral Contact Group.

The Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) Martin Sajdik made the following press statement after the meeting of the TCG ‎and its Working Groups in Minsk on 21 December 2016:

“Today а regular round of negotiations took place, including а meetingof the TCG, consultations with representatives from certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions as well as meetings of Working Groups.

The Working Group on Humanitarian Issues had a thorough discussion on the release of persons detained in the context of the conflict. During this week, several persons have been released both by the Ukrainian side and by certain areas of Donetsk region.

The Ukrainian side expressed its readiness to unilaterally release additional 15 people, as a humanitarian gesture, by the end of this year, among them women and wounded. I appreciate and welcome this move. I hope that it will give impetus to reciprocal steps by certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

There was a lively exchange of proposals for the legal settlement of water supply issues and payments for water delivery. Electricity supply in Donetsk and Luhansk regions has also been discussed by the stakeholders recently. I am glad that, despite the fact that the work of the Working Group on Economic Issues remains blocked, discussion about economic issues is progressing.

In the political field, the discussion focused on the issues related to the ’Steinmeier formula’.

Today, the Working Group on Security Issues focused its attention on the full compliance with the ceasefire, disengagement of forces and hardware, as well as security at and around crossing points.

Much attention was paid to security issues at today's TCG meeting, too.

On behalf of the TCG, I would now like to make the following statement:

“We, the members of the Trilateral Contact Group and representatives from certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, stressing the necessity to ensure peace and tranquility in connection with the upcoming holidays, reaffirm our commitment to a comprehensive, sustainable and unlimited ceasefire, starting at 00:00 on 24 December 2016 (Kyiv time).

We express our commitment to the implementation of Minsk agreements (the Minsk Protocol of 5 September 2014, the Minsk Memorandum of 19 September 2014 and the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements of 12 February 2015) and to effectively continuing the Minsk process in the new year.”

Personally, I would like to add that we will try to receive support for this initiative from the highest political level as well.

Looking at the end of the year, I would like to give my personal assessment that a significant number of obligations under the Minsk agreements have not been fully implemented in 2016. However, this lack of progress should not stop us from continuing our process next year, with renewed vigor and new enthusiasm! I also express gratitude to our hosts, the Belarusian side, for their hospitability and excellent support of our meetings.

The next meeting of TCG and its Working Groups will take place on 16 January 2017."

Address by Martin Sajdik at the side event on Ukraine in the margins of the OSCE Ministerial Council on 8 December 2016 in Hamburg

"As we meet today in the beautiful city of Hamburg for the concluding weeks of the German OSCE Chairmanship, I would first and foremost like to express my profound gratitude to Minister Steinmeier and his wonderful team for entrusting me with this function and for rendering a truly strong support to our process throughout the year.

Thank you for giving me now this opportunity to present a review of this year’s efforts within the Minsk talks for a peaceful settlement of the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Throughout the year, the Trilateral Contact Group and its four working groups have generally met every two weeks. I am sincerely grateful to the four Coordinators for their commitment! Thanks to their extraordinary dedication, the process has been kept on track despite an ever gloomier background. If I may say so, our challenge is to maintain the right ‘operating temperature’ for the Minsk process: We must continue to take the heat off the conflict. But at the same time, we must prevent any attempts to freeze it.

The people in Ukraine, but also in adjacent countries, expect all the signatories of the Minsk agreements to deliver on their commitments. Our common aim remains to improve the conditions for the civilian population which continues to suffer. As I have already said in my last week’s address to the PC in Vienna, over 2’000 civilians have lost their lives since the outbreak of the conflict, 6’000 – 7’000 have been injured.

This year, the number of killed civilians has decreased roughly by two thirds in comparison to 2015. In order to stabilize the ceasefire, Amb Ertugrul Apakan has – with great skill – negotiated three decisions in the WG on Security:

A framework agreement on disengagement of forces and hardware, signed by the TCG in September, and two decisions on mine-action and prohibition of live-fire exercises, signed in March.

Regrettably, the sides’ performance in implementing those and previous security arrangements leaves much to be desired. The ceasefire is still violated every day, while heavy and addendum-regulated weapons as well as mines continue to inflict civilian casualties, of which one is already too many.

The sides’ performance in 2017 could considerably be improved by establishing accountability with regard to the numerous Minsk violations, including against OSCE SMM staff and equipment. The Joint Center for Coordination and Control needs to play a more prominent, truly joint role, as its name says.

We will also pursue our efforts to implement disengagement, as we consider it essential for building trust to move forward on the other elements of Minsk.

Regarding the political aspects, Amb Pierre Morel has gone, in the course of over fifty meetings of his WG, into nearly every detail of the modalities for local elections in CADR/CALR. Thorough discussions took also place on amnesty, on the enactment of the law on Special order of self-governance and on your formula, Mr. Minister, the “Steinmeier formula”. Thereby a solid groundwork for discussions – and future decisions – in the Normandy format, the TCG and finally in the Ukrainian parliament has been laid.

As regards the Humanitarian WG, the fate of detainees has been on the agenda of every meeting. A considerable number of detainees has been released in 2016 and we hope for further substantial steps. And, thanks to his persistent efforts, Ambassador Toni Frisch has been able to visit detainees on both sides of the line of contact.

However, with the onset of the third winter in the conflict, the humanitarian situation of some 3 Mio Ukrainians is likely to further worsen. Very recently, the de-registration of a critical implementing partner in CADR (which will hopefully be revoked soon!) has significantly constrained the ability of humanitarian actors, especially from the UN sector, to deliver urgently needed humanitarian aid. It has to be noted that UN organizations are still heavily impaired in their work, in particular in CADR.

We have seen a direct link between living conditions in eastern Ukraine and the topics on the agenda of the Economic WG. Thanks to Mr. Per Fischer’s energetic work, the group, when meeting up to the end of summer, discussed and facilitated the rehabilitation of local infrastructure, inter alia for the delivery of water. It created a new legal and commercial basis that could sustain uninterrupted water supply and heating for up to 1.2m people on both sides of the line of contact. At yesterday’s meeting of the TCG, we agreed on the necessity to finalize outstanding legal and technical issues within one week. I sincerely hope that the sides will act on this commitment.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Allow me to share with you some observations I have made in the course of the year.

First, adherence to the ceasefire can be controlled. Temporarily, we have again seen a sharp drop in the number of violations in September after the TCG made a renewed call to respect the ceasefire in the light of the beginning school year.

Second, the situation of the civilian population can be improved. Take for example the 25’000 people on average who cross the line of contact every day. Only recently, we commended the Ukrainian authorities for their decision to raise the weight limit for goods people can carry along. Hopefully other measures will follow.

While I deplore the lack of progress in 2016, these examples show clearly that if there is political will, there is also a way. We must not allow the cynicism of war to gain the upper hand. I do hope that everybody can recharge their batteries over the holidays and bring fresh impetus to the negotiation table.

On our part, we should therefore ask: What is needed to stimulate the necessary political will, how can we encourage the sides to comply with the letter and spirit of the Minsk agreements? In my view – and I have said so before – this can only be achieved by presenting a clear perspective. We need a “package” solution with an authoritative sequence of all the elements of Minsk. The ‘roadmap’ that is being negotiated in the Normandy format will therefore be of utmost importance for our process and its credibility, just as we rely on the guidance of the Normandy format in general.

I am convinced that the incoming Austrian OSCE Chairmanship will devote as much energy to the peaceful resolution of this conflict as we have experienced throughout this year from Germany. I look forward to continue the established close and trusting cooperation with the new CiO. But first and foremost, we count on the continuous support of all sides of the conflict as well as of all participating States."

Press Statement of the Special Representative of the OSCE CiO, Ambassador Martin Sajdik, after the consultations of the TCG on 7 December 2016

MINSK, 7 December – The Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG), Martin Sajdik, made the following press statement after the meeting of the TCG ‎and its Working Groups in Minsk on 7 December 2016:

“Today, a regular round of negotiations took place, including the TCG meeting, consultations with representatives from certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, as well as meetings of the three Working Groups on humanitarian, political and economic issues. The Working Group on Security convened yesterday.

On this occasion, I would like to remind you that on November 29, the coordinators of the Working Groups and I informed the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Normandy format on the progress of our negotiations.

As to the outcomes of the meetings –

With regard to security issues:

1. Particular attention was given to the identification of new areas for disengagement of forces and hardware;

2. Participants discussed how to accelerate the implementation of the TCG decision on mine action;

3. Other measures to mitigate tensions along the contact line were discussed.

The Working Group on Humanitarian Issues once again had an in-depth discussion on the release of persons detained in the context of the conflict. Participants continued this work with a growing sense of responsibility towards the detainees and their families. In this respect, I would like to express my particular appreciation to Ambassador Frisch.

It should also be mentioned that positive steps were taken on the issue of exchanging letters and parcels between the detainees and their families on both sides of the contact line.

Besides, the opening of a new crossing point in Zolote was discussed again.

In the political field, the discussion focused on issues related to the so-called ’Steinmeier formula’.

In the framework of TCG, the vital issue of water supply in certain areas of Luhansk region was discussed. We agreed that it is necessary to find legal and technical solutions urgently, within a week. I sincerely hope that this time, these words will be turned into actions.”

Press Statement of the Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Ambassador Martin Sajdik, after the consultations of the Trilateral Contact Group on 23 November 2016

The Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) Martin Sajdik made the following press statement after the meeting of the TCG ‎and its Working Groups in Minsk on 23 November 2016:

“In the area of ​​security:

1. The situation along the line of contact remains tense, including numerous violations of existing agreements, concerning, in particular, the cease-fire and withdrawal of heavy weapons.

The majority of civilian and military casualties are a result of shelling with heavy weapons. These weapons should not be there, they should be withdrawn according to the Minsk agreements. Unfortunately, the performance of the sides in implementing the agreements on withdrawing heavy weapons leaves much to be desired in all respects.

2. Particular attention was given to the identification of new areas for disengagement of forces and hardware. The parties have devoted a lot of time and effort to the issue, in particular thanks to the personal contribution of the Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (SMM) and Co-ordinator of the Working Group on Security Issues, Ambassador Ertuğrul Apakan.

In the Working Group on Humanitarian Issues the detailed discussion centered on the release of persons detained in the context of the conflict, primarily the release of the sick and wounded, women and minors.

The issue of missing persons was also discussed.

I am happy to point out the fact that the Ukrainian side has increased the limit on personal cargo to be transported across the line of contact from 50 to 75 kilograms per person. The Ukrainian announcement to foresee an increase of personnel at the checkpoints is also a positive development.

The Co-ordinator of the Working Group on Humanitarian Issues, Ambassador Toni Frisch, has been working in a committed and sustainable way to achieve such improvements.

Concerns about the situation of water and electricity supply were expressed. I personally appealed to the participants of the Minsk process to urgently address the issue of water supply in Luhansk region. Unfortunately, the issue remains unresolved due to the lack of will of the parties to constructively address the payment issue. Today, I have repeatedly underlined that continuing on this path would imply serious consequences for the population.

Among the political issues, the discussion focused on the so-called ’Steinmeier formula.’"

Press Statement of the Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Ambassador Martin Sajdik, after the consultations of the Trilateral Contact Group on 9 November 2016

The Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) Martin Sajdik made the following press statement after the meeting of the TCG ‎and its four Working Groups in Minsk on 9 November 2016:

“Last time we met in Minsk was on 26 October 2016. On 29 October, the TCG convened via video conferencing and this was also attended by representatives from certain areas of Luhansk and Donetsk regions and representatives of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (SMM) and the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC).

Today’s meetings had the following outcomes in the area of ​​security:

1. The participants noted the increase of tension along the contact line and of cease-fire violations, including the use of mortars and artillery;

2. They continued to discuss the completion of the disengagement of forces and hardware in the three pilot areas, and the identification of new areas;

3. Further steps for demining were discussed;

4. The need for full implementation of the decisions on the withdrawal of heavy weapons as well as demining was underlined.

Among the political issues, the discussion centered on modalities of the local elections, including the discussion of the so-called "Steinmeier formula".

With regard to humanitarian issues, the Coordinator of the Humanitarian Working Group, Ambassador Toni Frisch informed about his trip to certain areas of Luhansk and Donetsk regions in the period of October 25 to 29 where he met persons detained in the context of the conflict. This is the Ambassador’s fourth visit to certain areas of Luhansk and Donetsk areas, but it was the first time he could meet with detainees.

The humanitarian issues were discussed for two days, 8 and 9 November. In particular, the issue of assistance to internally displaced persons, pensioners and other vulnerable groups were covered. Special attention was paid to improving conditions at crossing points on the contact line, in particular, in Stanytsia Luhanska, where the approach to the pedestrian bridge is planned to be repaired with assistance of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Besides, the opening of a new crossing point in Zolote was discussed.

A detailed consideration was given to a possible acceleration in the process of releasing persons detained in the context of the conflict.

I am pleased to note a tangible improvement of the atmosphere in the discussion of humanitarian issues, and I therefore hope for progress in this area in the near future. Further improvement of security conditions, including full compliance with the ceasefire, would certainly facilitate this process.”

Press Statement of the OSCE Chair’s Special Representative Sajdik after Meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group in Minsk on 26 October 2016

MINSK, 26 October 2016 - Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) Martin Sajdik made the following press statement after the meeting of the TCG ‎and its four Working Groups in Minsk on 26 October 2016:

“Our meetings usually take place every two weeks. As an exception, today’s meeting was held after a three-week break. However, other important events connected to the peaceful settlement of the situation in eastern Ukraine took place in the meantime. First of all, I am talking about the summit in the Normandy format held in Berlin on 19 October 2016. It was preceded by a meeting of the political advisors of Heads of States and Governments in the same format, held in Minsk on 14 October.

The Trilateral Contact Group also discussed a number of questions in video-conferences. They focused on security issues, in particular disengagement of forces and hardware. In video-conferences on 11 and 18 October representatives from certain areas of Luhansk and Donetsk regions, the Head of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (SMM) and Co-ordinator of the Working Group on Security Issues Ambassador Ertuğrul Apakan, as well as representatives of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) also participated.

As for today’s negotiations, in the field of security the discussion mainly focused on the implementation of the Framework Decision on Disengagement of Forces and Hardware of 21 September 2016, namely in the first three areas – Petrivske, Zolote and Stanytsia Luhanska.

We have noted that disengagement in Zolote and Petrivske has taken place and also discussed certain progress in demining. But a number of unresolved problems remain, in particular concerning access for the OSCE SMM to those two areas. Disengagement in the vicinity of Stanytsia Luhanska was discussed, as well as potential new areas for disengagement of forces and hardware.

The meeting today once again demonstrated that the TCG firmly and fundamentally supports the idea of disengagement along the entire line of contact. Disengagement is seen as a key factor in strengthening mutual trust.

As I have repeatedly pointed out on previous occasions, full adherence to the ceasefire would certainly contribute greatly to the prompt implementation of the Framework Decision.

Among the political issues, the discussion centered on amnesty issues, the so-called “Steinmeier formula” and modalities of local elections.

Among the economic aspects, issues of water and electricity supply were discussed, as well as the restoration of railway tracks and electricity grids. As I already pointed out three weeks ago, the key issue requiring an urgent solution is payments for water supply and electricity, including the question of debts in certain areas of Luhansk region.

Finally, I would like to point out that the Co-ordinator of the Working Group on Humanitarian Issues Ambassador Toni Frisch is currently in certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions in order to visit detainees. In this regard, I would like to remind that Ambassador Frisch has already conducted similar visits on the territory controlled by the Ukrainian Government.”

Press Statement of the OSCE Chair’s Special Representative Sajdik after Meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group in Minsk on 5 October 2016

MINSK, 6 October 2016 – The Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG), Martin Sajdik, made the following press statement after the meeting of the TCG ‎and its four Working Groups in Minsk on Wednesday, 5 October 2016:

“Among the economic topics, issues of water and electricity supply, the restoration of railway tracks and electrical grids, payment of pensions and social benefits were discussed today.

The payment for water and electricity supply, including the redemption of the accumulated debt, needs to be addressed urgently. We are grateful to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for its decision to cover running electricity bills for two months, which allows the resumption of water supply. Electricity supply is important for the pumping stations that provide drinking water to the population. It is only a stop-gap measure, not a sustainable solution. It provides for more time. However, only a political solution can resolve this issue.

In the political field, as during previous meetings, the modalities of local elections, a roadmap on political issues, and amnesty issues were among the topics discussed.

In the field of security, the discussion centred around the implementation of the Framework Decision on the Disengagement of Forces and Hardware of 21 September 2016, in particular in the first three priority areas – Zolote, Stanytsia Luhanska and Petrivske. Specific dates for starting actual disengagement were negotiated both in the Working Group on Security Issues and in the TCG. We have reached a mutual understanding that each party shall declare its respective disengagement schedule. Full adherence to the ceasefire would certainly contribute greatly to the prompt implementation of the Framework Decision.

Among the humanitarian issues the exchange of detainees related to the conflict was discussed. The co-ordinator of the Humanitarian Working Group Toni Frisch, will be travelling to certain areas of Donetsk region in the near future to meet detainees and examine their detention conditions.

Concerning the rights of children, problems related to social payments for children in orphanages in certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk region were examined in detail.

A key issue is the restoration of access to the pedestrian bridge over the river Seversky Donets at Stanytsia Luhanska, in view of the approaching winter. The head of the ICRC delegation in Ukraine, Alain Aeschlimann, informed us today that the ICRC will provide financial and technical support in this respect.”

Special Representative Sajdik welcomed the fact that in Minsk on 5 October 2016  the sides acknowledged the need to urgently repair the  access to the pedestrian bridge (on the north bank of the river Seversky Donets) at the crossing point Stanytsia Luhanska, before the onset of winter.

In order to realize their commitment Sajdik urged the concerned sides to undertake the following steps:

- Fully support the ICRC in its effort to restore access to the bridge, as stated in the road map presented by the ICRC representative in Minsk on 5 October 2016.

- Ensure all conditions are met that ICRC representatives and involved experts are guaranteed safe and unimpeded access to the area in question, including by demining and / or marking and fencing off mined areas adjacent to the bridge.

Sajdik expressed his firm intention to put this issue again on the agenda of upcoming TCG meetings and urged the sides to regularly report on the implementation of repair works, which should be completed by mid-December 2016 in order to ensure safe access for the civilian population to the bridge during winter.

Press Statement by Ambassador Sajdik after the Trilateral Contact Group on 21 September 2016

Ambassador Martin Sajdik, Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) made the following press statement after the meeting of the TCG ‎and its four Working Groups in Minsk on 21 September 2016:

“I have already informed you about today’s achievement – the signing of the Framework Agreement on Disengagement of Forces and Hardware, as well as on the establishment of three areas of disengagement in Zolote, Petrivske and Stanytsia Luhanska.

I would like to focus on the results of the Working Group on Humanitarian Issues. In this connection, I would like to mention that on 17 September 2016 another release of six detainees took place. Vladimir Zhemchugov is one of these beneficiaries. He has personally suffered from the conflict, leaving him disabled. Zhemchugov’s family has struggled for his release from detention in certain areas of Luhansk region for a long time.

I would herewith like to express my gratitude to all involved in his release. This is another proof for the fact that if the sides wish, they can achieve positive results.

The Coordinator of the Working Group on Humanitarian Issues, Ambassador Toni Frisch, informed on his visit to a detention facility in Starobilsk, where he met detainees from certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

It is positive that, at today’s TCG meeting, the representative from certain areas in Donetsk region agreed to Ambassador Frisch’s visit to detention facilities there. We believe that such visits should be conducted according to international humanitarian standards.

The Working Group on Political Issues discussed the modalities of local elections in certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the so-called "Steinmeier formula", as well as amnesty issues.

After the last TCG meeting, I announced that a high-level meeting of the Ministries of Energy of Ukraine and the Russian Federation was supposed to take place. Unfortunately, this has not happened yet, but the two sides reaffirmed their commitment to hold this meeting in the near future.

As in previous meetings, the issue of water supply in the "Karbonyt" system was discussed.”

The next round of meetings of the Tritaleral Contact Group and its Working Groups will be held on 5 October 2016.

Ambassador Martin Sajdik made the following press statement on 21 September 2016 after a meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group

Ambassador Martin Sajdik made the following press statement on 21 September 2016 after a meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group: ‎

“I am glad to inform you that after three months of tenuous efforts and hard work, the Working Group on Security Issues has finally managed to agree on the text of the Framework Decision on Disengagement of Forces and Hardware. This document has been signed today by representatives of the government of Ukraine and of the Russian Federation to the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) and initialed by representatives from certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

The document provides for, among other things, the establishment of areas of disengagement of forces and hardware along the contact line. The Working Group on Security Issues has also succeeded in agreeing on all issues concerning three areas of disengagement: Zolote, Petrivske and Stanytsia Luhanska.

I would like to use this opportunity to express my personal appreciation for the successful work of Ambassador Ertugul Apakan, Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) and Co-ordinator of the Working Group on Security Issues.“

The Russian original version of the Framework Decision on Disengagement of Forces and Hardware can be accessed on

http://www.osce.org/cio/266266

Statement by Amb. Sajdik on 18 September 2016 on the release of detainees

On 18 September 2016, Ambassador Martin Sajdik, Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and to the Trilateral Contact Group welcomed the release of detainees related to the conflict, as follows:

“Two detainees held in certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions as well as four detainees held by the government of Ukraine were released yesterday. I am relieved that these persons are now back with their families. This release was long overdue. The Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) and the Working Group on Humanitarian Issues will continue to work tirelessly until all detainees related to the conflict are released.”

The next meeting of the TCG will take place on Wednesday, 21 September 2016, in Minsk.

Statement by Amb. Sajdik to the news Agency RIA Novosti from 10 September 2016

With reference to the article «Сурков и Сайдик обсудили ситуацию в Донбассе» [“Surkov and Sajdik discussed the situation in Donbass”], published on the RIA Novosti website on 9 September, Ambassador Martin Sajdik, Special Representative of the OSCE Chairman in Office in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group, notes with surprise and disappointment that its content does by no means reflect the content of his meeting with Mr Surkov on 9 September, moreover as the article relies on a source (Mr Chesnakov) who did not even participate in this meeting.

OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Special Representative Sajdik calls for sustainable ceasefire in Ukraine during Russian Federation visit

The Special Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG), Ambassador Martin Sajdik, had meetings in Moscow, from 8 to 10 September, with the Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, Sergey Lavrov, the Aide to the President of the Russian Federation, Vladislav Surkov, as well as with the representatives of the Russian Federation in the TCG, Boris Gryzlov and Azamat Kulmukhametov.

Ambassador Sajdik welcomed Russian support for the latest TCG initiative for the full respect of the ceasefire on the occasion of the start of the new academic year on 1 September, which was explicitly confirmed by all interlocutors.

The sides also agreed that more efforts are needed to make this ceasefire sustainable, which in turn should facilitate progress in the implementation of the Minsk agreements in both the security and political fields.

Statement by Ambassador Martin Sajdik after the meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group‎ on 7 September 2016 in Minsk

Ambassador Martin Sajdik, made the following press statement after the meeting of the TCG ‎and its four Working Groups on 7 September 2016 in Minsk:

“The Trilateral Contact Group and representatives from certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions have expressed their satisfaction with the considerable improvement of the security situation in the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine, following the TCG’s appeal to fully observe the ceasefire made on 26 August in connection with the start of the academic year on 1 September. This is based on the assessment provided by Ambassador Ertugul Apakan, Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) and co-ordinator of the Working Group on Security Issues. This group, as well as the TCG, reiterated the necessity to undertake all measures to ensure that the ceasefire is fully and continuously observed.

Participants of the Working Group on Humanitarian Issues raised the issue of internally displaced persons and refugees. The co-ordinator underlined the importance of finding durable solutions to their difficult humanitarian situation, especially in view of the upcoming winter. The needs of particularly vulnerable groups, especially IDPs and refugees, will be further addressed in the upcoming sessions.

The Working Group on Economic Affairs and Rehabilitation discussed the re-opening of the additional railway line Popasnaya-Stakhanov in its latest meetings. The sides stressed the necessity of restoring the line and re-launching train transportation on this route. The sides also agreed on the necessity of complete restoration and secure railway communication at the junction Mikitivska-Mayorsk.

The representatives of the governments of Ukraine and of the Russian Federation agreed to hold a meeting of the leadership of their respective ministries in Minsk on 21 September 2016 to discuss issues concerning the restoration of electrical grids in the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine.

Discussions in the Working Group on Political Issues focused on modalities of local elections in certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions as well as on best international practices of election and electoral campaign financing. Participants of the group also exchanged views on the issue of amnesty.”

This English text is a translation of the original Russian language version.

Declaration by Ambassador Martin Sajdik after today's meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group‎ on 26 August 2016 in Minsk

Ambassador Martin Sajdik made the following press statement after today's meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group ‎and its four Working Groups on 26 August 2016 in Minsk:

“Working Group on Economic Issues:

On 18 August an agreement on water supply was signed between two companies of Ukraine and ORLO “Popasnyansky Vodokanal” and “Dzherelo Novogo Zhittya”. In order for the agreement to enter into force, a supplementary agreement on the details of the functioning of water meters remains to be signed. This is a significant step forward after many months of negotiations.

The railway junction Mykytivka-Mayorsk has been damaged again. It has to be rebuilt, but in order to ensure coal transport, another junction may put into operation on the territory of ORLO. Specific measures are under discussion.

The Working Group on Political Issues, as for the last couple of sessions, continued its exchange on the usual topics, in particular modalities for local elections, but also amnesty.

Members of the Working Group on Humanitarian Issues unanimously reiterated their commitment to work together on safeguarding the rights and welfare of children affected by the conflict. Participants also agreed to co-operate on mechanisms for identifying missing persons through an exchange with the ICRC.

I would like to share my disappointment that we did still not receive a clear commitment from ORLO to open the crossing point of Zolote. We heard from Co-ordinator Toni Frisch, who recently visited both sides of the proposed crossing point, that the Ukrainian side has undertaken all necessary steps which would allow it to open the crossing point within a few days, in contrast to the ORLO side. Thus, the situation continues that there is no crossing point for cars and for delivery of humanitarian assistance in Luhansk region.

The Working Group on Security Issues continued discussions on disengagement of forces at the contact line. The agreements on the withdrawal of heavy and smaller-calibre weapons were also discussed. Ambassador Apakan drew attention to the increasing number of assaults and intimidation directed against SMM staff. I supported Ambassador Apakan on this issue during the TCG consultations.

The Security WG also discussed the ceasefire issue. In this regard, I would like to make the following statement:

The Trilateral Contact Group together with the representatives of Certain Areas of Donetsk and Luhansk expressed the necessity for a permanent ceasefire in connection with the beginning of the new school year, starting at midnight on 31 August.

I  personally call on all parties to express their support of this statement at the highest level.”

This English text is a translation of the original Russian language version.

Curriculum Vitae

Amb. Martin Sajdik

Prior to his function under the German OSCE Chairmanship, Ambassador Sajdik had already served under the Serbian Chairmanship (appointed by FM Dačić on 22 June 2015). Before that he served as the Permanent Representative of Austria to the United Nations, the People’s Republic of China, Mongolia and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Between postings at the Austrian Embassy in Moscow (1980-1985 and 1989-1991) and with the Executive Secretariat of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe in Vienna (1986-1987), he held executive positions at a major Austrian construction company and an Austrian Bank in Moscow.

Ambassador Sajdik studied law, international law and international relations in Vienna, Moscow and Bologna, and received his doctorate degree in law in Vienna in 1971.