OSCE's Apakan: Political will needed for long-term sustainable solution to conflict in eastern Ukraine
Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine Ertugrul Apakan says a genuine willingness is required if a full sustainable ceasefire is to be achieved in eastern Ukraine.
In his address to the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna on Thursday, the Chief Monitor pointed out that there had been three attempts to cease fire through seasonal recommitments since the beginning of the year, the latest happening on August 29. Although initially resulting in a decrease in the level of recorded violence, each attempt invariably failed as weapons remained in place and little progress was made on the disengagement of forces and hardware, the OSCE said in a press release.
"Commitments already made have to be translated into concrete action on the ground," the Ambassador said.
Meanwhile, Apakan said, civilians continue to be killed and injured, and infrastructure providing gas, electricity and water – upon which civilians on both sides of the contact line depend – remains vulnerable. With the support of the SMM, long-stalled repairs were finally made possible on a number of key infrastructure facilities, benefitting hundreds of thousands of people.
"Local solutions only work in the short term," Apakan said. "Political will is needed to find more long-lasting solutions."