Statement by Ambassador İldem, Permanent Representative of Turkey, concerning the situation in Ukraine at the 998th Meeting of the Permanent Council

Tacan İLDEM 30.04.2014

Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.

The situation in Ukraine continues to unfold in a manner that requires our constant attention. Our efforts to tackle the crisis need to address different aspects and dimensions of this situation in a coherent manner.

It is from such a perspective that I first wish to express our thanks and appreciation for the insightful presentation made by Ambassador Biščević, Team Leader of the National Dialogue Project in Ukraine. As one of the numerous recent OSCE initiatives in Ukraine, the National Dialogue Project aimed to reduce tensions and explore how our Organization may contribute to national dialogue, social cohesion and tolerance in the midst of the ongoing crisis. Among its areas of deployment were centers where tensions are running high, such as Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv. This of course makes the Project’s results particularly salient.

We believe that the findings summarized by Ambassador Biščević further underline the need for continuing OSCE engagement in Ukraine. Our Organization is currently pursuing a wide spectrum of activities in the country to make its contribution towards the overarching aim of internal peace and political stability. These activities should continue unabated until that aim is reached through a peaceful solution to the current crisis, on the basis of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political unity of Ukraine.

Mr. Chairperson,

The Special Monitoring Mission occupies a pivotal position as our Organization rises to the challenges posed by the crisis in Ukraine. The regular flow of information provided by the SMM concerning the situation on the ground is crucial for correctly steering and calibrating our ongoing endeavors.

I would like to stress once again that we welcome the leading role given in the Geneva Statement to the SMM in assisting Ukrainian authorities in the immediate implementation of de-escalation measures. We reaffirm our strong support to the Mission.

It goes without saying, however, that neither the SMM’s personnel nor other international monitors can effectively carry out their mandate in an environment where their security and freedom of movement is not guaranteed. As I have also emphasized at Monday’s Special Permanent Council, the harassment and detention of monitors, let alone their abduction, is not acceptable. Such actions go against the very spirit of our common commitments. Wecondemn this unacceptable act and repeat our call for the immediate release of all observers and members of the escort team.

The two most important keywords in our efforts to find a solution to the crisis are: engagement and dialogue. As I have already touched upon, the SMM provides us with accurate, timely and objective data which constitute the material we need to forge ahead with both engagement and dialogue in a constructive and meaningful manner.

The period ahead is crucial for a number of reasons. We should use it well and efficiently support the SMM to shore up its presence by earning the trust and confidence of all actors on the ground. In this context we welcome Kyiv’s efforts towards the realization of a transparent and inclusive constitutional reform that would embrace the aspirations of the entire population. We should make sure to offer all the support that we can give to the Ukrainian authorities in this endeavor. A broad-based dialogue for the constitutional reform process would also strengthen efforts to promote stability in the country.

On the other hand, we strongly believe that the upcoming Presidential elections would serve as an important means for the Ukrainian people to express its will through a democratic process.

Finally, we should keep in mind that especially in this period of constantly escalating tension, the effective implementation of the measures set forth in the Geneva Statement will provide a welcome relief to all stakeholders on the ground and give everyone concerned some much-needed breathing space for defusing the crisis.

Thank you.