Chief of Press and Public Information Unit at the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine Dragana Nikolic Solomon has said a consensus is needed among the member states to the organization for the OSCE SMM observers to work in Russian-annexed Crimea.
In response to an inquiry from RFE/RL's Krym.Realii media project, she said that in March 2014, a total of 57 OSCE participating States approved by consensus the mandate of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine. Since March 2014, the mission's mandate has not changed. Any such change requires a consensus decision of all 57 OSCE participating States, including Ukraine and Russia. However, there was no consensus regarding access of the OSCE SMM to Crimea, according to Solomon.
According to the mission representative, there are interpretations by the delegations of Ukraine, Canada, the United States and Russia about the geography of the mission, in particular, regarding the Crimean peninsula.
Until the consensus is reached, the mission will be unable to monitor the situation in Crimea, she added.
The representative of the mission recalled the OSCE SMM monitors regularly patrol the area in Kherson region, and that its progress can be found in mission reports.
On November 6, following the meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group in Minsk, Ukraine's Representative in the humanitarian subgroup, First Deputy Chair of the Verkhovna Rada Iryna Gerashchenko said the issue of the OSCE SMM monitoring in Crimea had been raised during the meeting. The Ukrainian side insists that OSCE observers have access to the territory of the annexed peninsula.