OSCE Ambassadors Show Support for Ukraine on Visit to Kyiv and Odesa

PRESS RELEASE | October 7, 2014

U.S. Ambassador to the OSCE Daniel Baer is joining 34 other ambassadors to the OSCE on a visit that has brought the majority of the OSCE’s Permanent Council to Ukraine.

“This is a way to show our support to the people and the government of Ukraine,” Baer said, “and to hear firsthand about the challenges they face in terms of responding to externally driven violence, seizing the opportunity to elect a new parliament, and moving quickly on reforms that will deliver results.”

In a meeting with President Poroshenko on October 7, Baer congratulated President Poroshenko on the vote in support of anti-corruption legislation on the first reading in the Verkhovna Rada earlier that day. The ambassadors voiced unwavering support for Ukraine’s unity and territorial integrity. President Poroshenko underscored the need to move quickly to secure and monitor the international border between Ukraine and Russia, consistent with the Minsk protocol of September 5.

The ambassadors also met with a dozen human rights activists and NGO leaders, as well as with representatives of the government and coalition and opposition members of parliament.

After meeting with Prime Minister Yatsenyuk and, separately, with civil society activists, Baer remarked that “it’s striking that both the Prime Minister and the activists zeroed-in on the core elements of rule of law–both highlighted need for reform in the prosecutor, the judiciary, and law enforcement.”

With parliamentary elections less than 3 weeks away, Tana di Zuleta, the head of OSCE ODIHR’s long term election observation mission reported that around 3500 candidates and 29 parties are competing. OSCE ODIHR has 80 long term observers and will have another 600 short term observers on election day. The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly will also send observers for the upcoming elections.

The ambassadors also had wide ranging discussions with the chair of the “Trilateral Contact Group”, Ambassador Heidi Tagliavini and the Chief Monitor of the Special Monitoring Mission, Amb Ertuğrul Apakan. They will visit the Odesa team of the Special Monitoring Mission to learn more about how the SMM works in the field.

“Our discussions underscored the tenuous situation in the parts of Donetsk and Luhansk plagued by violence: The OSCE special monitoring mission has an important role to play on the ground – and it can only play that role if Russia and its proxies in the East abide by all parts of the September 5 Minsk Protocol and September 19 Minsk agreement. The ceasefire requires heavy weapons and fighters to go back to Russia, and for the Ukraine/Russia border to be secured,” said Ambassador Baer.