Statement by Ambassador Tacan İldem, Permanent Representative of Turkey, on the situation in Ukraine, 1034th Special Meeting of the Permanent Council

Tacan İldem 20.01.2015
Thank you, Mr. Chairperson,

Allow me to begin by expressing our appreciation to you for convening this very timely Special Meeting of the Permanent Council against the backdrop of the rapidly deteriorating security situation in parts of eastern Ukraine. I would also like to thank Ambassador Apakan and Ambassador Tagliavini for the valuable updates they have provided as regards the situation on the ground and the ongoing efforts towards resolving the crisis.

Turkey remains deeply concerned with the recent escalation of violence in eastern Ukraine, particularly at and around Donetsk Airport. This worrying increase in the intensity of the armed conflict, coupled with the steadily mounting toll of civilian as well as military casualties, underscores yet again the urgent need for all sides to exercise utmost restraint, to refrain from further escalating the situation and to invest sincere efforts in achieving a sustainable ceasefire. We continue to believe that the ceasefire can be successfully consolidated through the full implementation by all sides of the provisions of the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum, including through the systematic withdrawal of heavy weapons. We encourage the ongoing efforts of Ambassador Tagliavini and the Trilateral Contact Group to make tangible progress on the implementation of the Minsk agreements. We sincerely hope that these efforts will soon lead to a complete cessation of hostilities, strict adherence to the ceasefire and the sustainable de-escalation of the crisis in and around Ukraine. We also welcome the readiness of the Special Monitoring Mission, as expressed in its recent press statements, to facilitate dialogue in order to further reduce the level of tension.

Within this framework we welcome today’s Declaration which we have adopted at this meeting, and express our gratitude to the Serbian Chairmanship for this valuable initiative. Demonstrating the support of all 57 participating States for the work of the Trilateral Contact Group and calling on all signatories to the Minsk agreements to achieve progress on their implementation, the Declaration embodies our shared concerns over the worsening situation and our common determination to see an end to hostilities in Ukraine. We furthermore appreciate that the Declaration, which constitutes a strong political signal, also calls on all sides to fully ensure the safety and security of the brave monitors working for the SMM, as well as stressing the need for cooperation with the Mission. The SMM, along with the Trilateral Contact Group, is the OSCE’s most significant asset in our ongoing engagement in Ukraine, and it is essential that its monitoring activities be facilitated by all sides, through all the means at their disposal. In this context we wish to draw attention once again to the crucial linkage between ceasefire monitoring and border monitoring, and reiterate our hope that the SMM will be able to begin its planned border monitoring activities as soon as possible.

Mr. Chairperson,

In conclusion, I would like to make use of this opportunity to reemphasize our firm conviction that the crisis in and around Ukraine needs to be settled through peaceful diplomatic means within the framework of respect towards Ukraine’s territorial integrity that includes Crimea, independence, sovereignty and political unity, in line with our shared OSCE commitments and international law. On this occasion I would also repeat once again our hope to see the Ukrainian Government’s constitutional reform efforts accompanied by the resumption of the inclusive political dialogue process reaching out to all segments of society in Ukraine and to all of the country’s regions.

Thank you.