Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG), Ambassador Martin Sajdik says he is optimistic after recent developments in Donbas, eastern Ukraine.
"Today, the Trilateral Contact Group and its Working Groups convened for the second last time before the end of this year. I would like to remark that recent developments inspire a certain optimism," he said in a statement after a meeting in Minsk on November 27, 2019.
He mentioned the opening of a pedestrian bridge in the village of Stanytsia Luhanska after construction and repair works on November 20, 2019.
"This is a great relief for the civilian population whose an average 11,000 people cross every day the entry-exit checkpoint of Stanytsia Luhanska. Here, I would like to express my special gratitude to [Ukraine's envoy to the TCG] Leonid Danylovych Kuchma for his tremendous personal efforts in resolving this issue.
Sajdik also mentioned progress at three disengagement sites in Donbas.
Earlier this week, in fulfillment of the commitments taken, the sides notified the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission of the completion of the withdrawal of forces and hardware in the area of Zolote. In the third disengagement area of Petrivske, the dismantling of fortifications is underway.
"Yet, I regret to say that the number of ceasefire violations remains fluctuating. According to the data provided the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission and discussed today in the Security Working Group, their number has increased again in the recent days, after a relative decline last week. With this in mind, I call on the sides to do everything necessary to ensure a sustainable ceasefire," Sajdik said.
He says he hopes for a successful meeting in the Normandy format.
"I hope that the meeting of the leaders of the Normandy Four in Paris, scheduled for December 9, 2019, will not be upset by fighting activities in the distant Donbas. In the run-up to the Summit, I would like to note that, on the part of the TCG and its Working Groups, we have completed all the tasks assigned to us by the Political Advisers of the Normandy Four, and today I look forward to this upcoming meeting with great hope," he said.
Sajdik also shared more insight into the TCG's work.
The Economic Working Group, as in the past meetings, considered current issues of water delivery across the line of contact in Donetsk and Luhansk regions as well as the payment of pensions.
The Humanitarian Working Group focused its discussions on the questions related to an exchange of detainees.
The Political Working Group continued discussing issues related to special status, amnesty and the modalities of local elections.