WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Chairman Ivica Dacic is visiting Washington DC this week to meet with US Congress and the US Department of State about the progress of the Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, according to the chairman’s statement.
“Today we have a hearing here in Congress and tomorrow I will have a meeting with Secretary of State Mr. [John] Kerry,” Dacic said in a testimony to the US Helsinki Commission on Wednesday.
Dacic told members of US Congress, that in meetings earlier this week in New York along with the ministers of foreign affairs of Russia and Ukraine, he agreed to extend the OSCE special monitoring mission in Ukraine from six months to 12 months.
The role of the OSCE playing a verification role was also reaffirmed, the OSCE chairman stated.
OSCE Chairman also noted that OSCE is extending substantial effort and has an impact on the ground in its special monitoring mission in Ukraine.
“We are investing extreme and maximal efforts” in the Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, Dacic said. “Regardless of diverging opinions and standpoints, I have to say we are effective in the operations on the ground.”
Supporting the peace process in Ukraine “is of course our main priority,” Dacic said.
The four countries put the OSCE in charge of observing and monitoring the ceasefire, the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the Donbas region, but also to restore and maintain “issues that have a social and economic component,” Dacic said.
The OSCE Chairman noted the difficulties of conducting the monitoring mission, which has the characteristics of “a peacekeeping mission.”
The February 12 Minsk agreements signed by representatives from Ukraine, Germany, France and Russia, require the OSCE to monitor the ceasefire in Ukraine and verify the withdrawal of heavy weaponry from the Donbas region.