Border Observer Mission: Interpretative Statement
As delivered by Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Kate M. Byrnes
to the Permanent Council, Vienna
April 6, 2017
In connection with the adoption of the Decision for the Extension of Deployment of OSCE Observers to Two Russian Checkpoints on the Russian-Ukrainian Border, the United States would like to make the following interpretative statement under paragraph IV.1(A)6 of the OSCE Rules of Procedure:
The United States finds it deeply regrettable that the Russian Federation continues to block the expansion of the geographic scope of the Observer Mission, despite the clear, strong, and continued support from other participating States to do so. We once again must accept an inadequate, limited-scope mission covering just two border checkpoints, which together account for only a few hundred meters of the 2,300 kilometer Ukrainian-Russian border, much of which Ukraine does not control.
Due to Russia’s unwarranted restrictions of the border Observer Mission’s work, the Mission will continue to be unable to ascertain the full extent to which Russia is participating in or facilitating the flow of arms, funding, and personnel to support the separatists in eastern Ukraine.
We note that Point 4 of the Minsk Protocol delineates a clear role for the OSCE to monitor and verify both sides of the Ukrainian-Russian international border, and to create a security zone in the border areas of Russia and Ukraine. There are strong linkages between ceasefire monitoring and border monitoring, and it is to the detriment of all efforts to resolve the conflict that the OSCE approach to these activities has been impeded by one participating State. The Russian Federation’s repeated refusal to allow expansion of the scope of this mission shows, once again, that it refuses to fulfill its Minsk commitments.
I request that this interpretative statement be attached to the decision and to the Journal of the Day.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.