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MINSK, 3 August 2017 – The Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG), Ambassador Martin Sajdik, made the following statement to the press after the meeting of the TCG ‎and its working groups in Minsk on 2 August 2017:

“As you know, the protection of the civilian population in armed conflict is a priority of our work in the Trilateral Contact Group. I would like to welcome the agreements reached by the leaders of the Normandy Four during their teleconference on 24 July 2017 with respect to the protection of critical civilian infrastructure.

I also welcome the support of the Normandy leaders to the efforts aimed at the withdrawal of heavy weapons and the disengagement of forces and hardware. Importantly, the leaders commended the role of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) and urged the conflict sides to implement prompt measures to guarantee safety and security, as well as unfettered access, for SMM staff.

Now let me dwell on the results of the discussions in the Working Groups.

The Working Group on Humanitarian Issues met on 31 July 2017 by videoconference. The parties were able to agree on more positions on the lists of persons detained in relation to the conflict. In addition, the Ukrainian participants provided information on improvements in the Starobilsk pre-trial detention centre.

In the Security Working Group, the parties continued discussions aimed to ensure safety and security in areas surrounding critical civilian infrastructure. Moreover, the Group went further in the discussion on new disengagement areas.

As regards the Working Group on Economic Issues, I am pleased to note that water supplies to certain areas of the Luhansk region (CALR) are stabilising. Last week, another instalment was paid by CALR, settling the debt accumulated since August 2016. As a result of regular payments, water supplies within the ‘Karbonyt’ system have gone uninterrupted.

In the Working Group on Political Issues, discussions on the application of the ‘Steinmeier formula’, unfortunately, did not bring result. I presume that the exchange of views will continue in the context of current discussions in the Normandy format”.