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    OSCE Special Envoy Hopes Water Supply Issue to Lugansk Region Gets Solved Soon

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    Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group Martin Sajdik told Sputnik on Wednesday he hopes that the problem with water supplies to the Lugansk region will be solved at the upcoming Group’s meeting in Minsk on December 21.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — When asked whether he believes that the issues will be solved at next week’s meeting, Sajdik said, “I hope so.”

    “I only know that they are at the moment negotiating,” Sajdik noted. “I know that electors are going back and forth… There were discussions, there was an exchange of drafts of an agreement over the weekend. That’s for sure.”

    The envoy pointed out that the main issue is how to pay for water.

    “The general problem there is besides that a general agreement has to be found, one also has to acknowledge the fact that this has to be paid. The company that provides the water is on the government-controlled side, and the uses of the water are on the Lugansk side,” Sajdik explained. “The question is how does the payment go. That’s a pretty difficult issue. We, hopefully, will also resolve this.”

    The eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Lugansk have been in turmoil since April 2014, when authorities in Kiev launched a military operation against pro-independence militias in Donbas. In February 2015, the two sides agreed to a ceasefire after talks brokered by the leaders of Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine – the so-called Normandy Format – in the Belarusian capital, Minsk.

    The deal stipulates withdrawal of weapons from the line of contact in eastern Ukraine, an all-for-all prisoner exchange and constitutional reforms that would confer special status on the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics. Both sides in the conflict, however, have consistently accused each other of violating the ceasefire terms.

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