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20 September 2017
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OSCE PA head Kanerva says Ukraine's eastern border remains critical issue

OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Ilkka Kanerva (MP, Finland) says that Ukraine's eastern border remains a critical issue.

Russian weapons will flow to Donbas until Ukraine seals its eastern border / Photo from UNIAN
Russian weapons will flow to Donbas until Ukraine seals its eastern border / Photo from UNIAN

"The issue of Ukraine's eastern border is also critical. Until the country regains full control of that border I am concerned that weapons and personnel may continue to flow in," he said at the end of his visit to Kyiv on November 11, according to an OSCE report published on the same day.

He also stressed that OSCE monitors should be enabled to fully observe and help stabilize the situation along the full length of the border.

He also noted the need for the completion of the pullback of heavy weapons from the contact line in Donbas in the near-term outlook.

"In my meetings today there was consensus that the withdrawal of heavy weapons in the east must happen as soon as possible. That step is clearly needed to improve the humanitarian situation and to allow for safe, legitimate elections in the temporarily occupied areas," he said.

Kanerva also underscored the importance of the Ukrainian government's reform initiatives and urged further efforts, particularly to combat corruption and to address the issue of decentralization.

"The wide-ranging reforms that the Ukrainian state is starting to implement would be a challenge for any government, let alone during a time of armed conflict. I urge policy-makers to focus on a long-term perspective for the benefit of the country," he said.

Kanerva reiterated the OSCE PA's commitment to facilitating dialogue between Ukrainian and Russian parliamentarians in support of a diplomatic resolution to the conflict.

In Kyiv, the OSCE PA President met with Ukrainian parliament speaker Volodymyr Groysman and Ambassador Ertugrul Apakan, the Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), who briefed him on the Mission's latest observations and planning.

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