Ukraine OSCE monitoring mission extended by one year

18th February 2016, Comments 0 comments

The OSCE monitoring mission in Ukraine has been extended for another year with a new budget of almost 100 million euros ($110 million), its chairman, the German foreign minister, said Thursday.

"Unfortunately, they report that the ceasefire is still fragile and the mission still does not have full access to the entire area of conflict," said the minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Almost 700 staff from 46 member states of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe have been monitoring the conflict between government forces and pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine.

Its new mandate runs until the end of March 2017, said Steinmeier, whose country assumed the body's rotating chairmanship at the start of the year.

He called on all sides in the conflict to adhere to the terms of the Minsk peace agreement, "to strictly adhere to the ceasefire" and to give the mission unhindered access to all areas, "without exception".

The conflict in the east of the former Soviet state has claimed more than 9,000 lives since April 2014, although the intensity of fighting had diminished, and has led Western powers to level punitive sanctions against Moscow.

© 2016 AFP

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