The Special Monitoring Mission of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE SMM) has had its mandate extended until the end of March 2017, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has said.
"I am glad that we have succeeded today in extending the mandate of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) by a year further, to the end of March 2017. We also adopted a new budget for the mission, which totals almost 100 million euros. We have, thereby, ensured that the SMM can continue to perform and enlarge its important role in stabilizing the ceasefire in the implementation of the Minsk accords," Steinmeier was quoted as having said on the German Foreign Ministry's website.
Almost 700 monitors from 46 OSCE member states work daily, to provide an objective picture of compliance with the requirements for the ceasefire and weaponry removal in eastern Ukraine, the German foreign ministry said.
"Unfortunately, they have reported that the ceasefire remains fragile, and that the Mission still does not have full access to the entire conflict zone. If we want to make headway on implementing the Minsk agreements, progress must finally be made on these points. All sides are called upon to comply strictly with the ceasefire, and to finally grant the SMM unhindered access to the entire conflict area," Steinmeier said.
It was reported that on February 16, 2016, SMM first deputy head, Alexander Hug, predicted that the number of OSCE monitors in Donbas would increase to 800 by the end of March.
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