Strengthen monitoring of 'fragile' Ukraine truce: OSCE

8th September 2014, Comments 0 comments

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe stressed Monday the need to strengthen its monitoring of a shaky ceasefire in Ukraine, and urged dialogue over sanctions.

Swiss President Didier Burkhalter, who is acting head of the OSCE, told Swiss public broadcaster RTS a truce signed in the Belarussian capital Minsk Friday was "fragile", warning that if it did not hold "things could get worse than before".

The 12-point pact was the first to win the backing of both Kiev and Moscow after five months of warfare that set off the deepest crisis in East-West relations for a generation.

But continuing fighting in eastern Ukraine over the weekend has threatened to upend the fragile ceasefire.

Burkhalter, who also serves as Swiss foreign minister, said 59 OSCE experts had immediately been scrambled to monitor the truce, but stressed the need to strengthen the mission.

Speaking as the European Union prepared to unveil punishing new sanctions on Russia, Burkhalter also insisted that "sanctions will not resolve the problems".

While sanctions could be justified by Russia's "violation of international law with its annexation of Crimea", he said increased dialogue with Moscow would be a more effective way of addressing the crisis.

"The crisis cannot be resolved without dialogue with Russia," he told RTS, insisting that "if you want to resolve Europe's problems, you cannot do so without Russia".

Burkhalter also called for "inter-Ukrainian dialogue to determine the relations between the (Ukrainian) regions".

Switzerland, which is not a member of the EU, has chosen not to join in on the broad sanctions against Russia over Ukraine, instead opting for targeted moves against individuals and firms.

It has also imposed measures to ensure its financial sector is not used to duck sanctions introduced by other countries.

© 2014 AFP

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