OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine’s Mandate Extension: Interpretative Statement to the PC

OSCE SMM monitors on patrol in Luhansk region, Ukraine, 16 January 2016. (OSCE/Evgeniy Maloletka)

The United States welcomes the extension of the mandate of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine. In so doing, we reaffirm the interpretative statements we made upon adoption of the mandate on March 21, 2014, upon the first extension of the mandate on July 24, 2014, and upon the second extension of the mandate on March 12, 2015. These interpretative statements were made under paragraph IV.1(A)6 of the Rules of Procedure, and we note that they remain in force.

We remind the Permanent Council of the key elements of those statements:

The United States reaffirms its firm commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.

We note that that the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine has a mandate to work throughout Ukraine, including Crimea.

We note that all participating States must cooperate with the Special Monitoring Mission and should take no actions to obstruct its access to Crimea or any other region of Ukraine.

We offer our gratitude to all monitors, staff, and leadership of the Special Monitoring Mission for their excellent work under difficult and at times unacceptable conditions.

We call on Ukraine, Russia, and the Russia-backed separatists to ensure that the Special Monitoring Mission has unfettered movement throughout the territory of Ukraine and to guarantee the safety and security of SMM monitors as they carry out their duties.

In addition to recalling those key elements of our previous interpretative statements, we would take this opportunity to stress that threats against and intimidation of SMM monitors are unacceptable, inconsistent with this mandate, and must end. Attempts to interfere with SMM operations, including SMM UAV flights, are also inconsistent with this mandate and must end as well.

I request that this interpretative statement be attached to the decision and to the journal of the day.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

As delivered by Ambassador Daniel B. Baer to the OSCE Permanent Council, Vienna