March 24, 2014
U.S. Ambassador to OSCE Daniel Baer Welcomes Arrival of First OSCE Monitors in Ukraine, Urges Larger Mission
Hailing the arrival in Ukraine of 50 of the first 100 members of a new Special Monitoring Mission for Ukraine, U.S. Representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Ambassador Daniel Baer, today called for “a robust mission that will seek out and report on trouble spots throughout Ukraine.”
The monitoring mission, which was initially requested by the Ukrainian government and proposed by the Swiss Chair of the OSCE, was agreed to by consensus in an emergency meeting of the organization’s Permanent Council on the evening of March 21, after the Russian Federation ended two weeks of obstruction of the proposal. The mission will begin its operations in nine Ukrainian cities and be headquartered in Kyiv, but it will eventually fan out to other locations throughout the country. Although Crimean cities are not among the initial launch points for the monitors, the mission’s mandate calls for them to work throughout the country and to have access throughout Ukraine. “Crimea is Ukraine, and there are clearly relevant issues of concern there. So the OSCE monitors ought to report facts on the ground in Crimea and elsewhere in Ukraine,” Baer said.
“The monitoring mission has a crucial role to play in debunking rumors and reporting on human rights abuses and violations of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as offering an objective assessment of the presence of and activities of provocateurs,” he continued. “Independent monitors will be able to gauge the truth of Russia’s many claims regarding the situation on the ground in Ukraine.” Objective, fact-based assessments will also contribute to the political development of the country, Baer said. “We’ve seen impartial, objective monitoring play a central role in de-escalating tensions elsewhere, and so this mission has the potential to make a real contribution to Ukraine’s democratic future.”
Baer pointed out that Russian troops remain poised on Ukraine’s eastern and southern borders and said he hoped that agreement on the monitoring mission constituted “a small but significant first step for Russia in de-escalating tensions and re-engaging diplomatically with regional counterparts, including the government of Ukraine.”
He said the United States would contribute 13 of the first tranche of 100 monitors on the ground in Ukraine, but he said the overall mission, with a broad mandate to report human rights violations and other threats to security throughout Ukraine, might eventually reach 400-500 monitors. The OSCE will also be dispatching a separate monitoring mission to Ukraine to observe the country’s presidential elections scheduled for May 25.
For further information please contact:
U.S. Mission to the OSCE
Christopher Midura, Public Affairs Counselor