Joint statement on behalf of France and Germany in response to the report by the Chief Observer of the OSCE Observer Mission at two Russian checkpoints on the Russian-Ukrainian border

02.09.2021 - Speech

Delivered by Ambassador Bräutigam, Permanent Representative of Germany to the OSCE, at the 1334th OSCE Permanent Council meeting on Thursday, 2 September 2021

Madame Chairperson,

I align myself fully with the statement made by the European Union but will add some additional remarks on behalf of Germany and France, in response to the intervention of the Russian Federation.

France and Germany deplore that Russia is now opposed, not only to the 4 months renewal of the mandate of the Border Observation Mission at the Russian Checkpoints Gukovo and Donetsk (BOM), but opposed to its very renewal, and so to its existence.

The BOM provides important objective facts and information from the situation at the Russian-Ukrainian border at the two mentioned checkpoints. It constitutes a central confidence-building instrument and is part of the conflict resolution efforts of the OSCE.

We recall that the Minsk Protocol provides for permanent monitoring of the border and verification by the OSCE, and that the Minsk Package of Measures includes the commitment to reinstate full control by Ukraine over its entire international border.

In the Normandy Format, France and Germany are pursuing their efforts for the full implementation of the Minsk agreements. An effective and comprehensive monitoring of the Russia-Ukraine state border is essential, also through the BOM, for improving the security situation and finding a sustainable political solution to the conflict.

Let me recall that the establishment of the Mission and the endorsement of its mandate had been initiated by the N4 foreign ministers with the aim to enhance transparency at the Russian-Ukrainian border as a confidence building measure.

To our deep concern, the opposition of the Russian Federation for the renewal of the BOM mandate, will irrevocably reduce transparency and diminish confidence and trust. Such a decision would be all the more disappointing given that one month ago, the Russian Federation eventually accepted a partial renewal of the BOM mandate, for only 2 months instead of four, thus creating an unnecessary extra administrative burden for the mission. But Russia was at least no longer questioning its very existence. We cannot see any reason that would justify such a Russian decision now.

Such a decision would be a wrong and negative signal that contradicts the letter and the spirit of the Minsk agreements. It would add to the massive restrictions of movement, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission has been facing for years in non-government controlled areas and in particular adjacent to the border.

We call on the Russian Federation to return to a constructive approach in order to find a viable solution which serves our common goal of enhancing transparency and building confidence.

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