Sajdik discloses details of new peace plan for Donbas

Sajdik discloses details of new peace plan for Donbas

The new plan for a peaceful settlement of the conflict in Donbas, which should replace the Minsk agreements, must be approved by the Normandy Four countries - Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany, according to Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG), Ambassador Martin Sajdik, who is the lead author of a new peace concept.

He said in an interview with Austrian newspaper Kleine Zeitung that in addition to a joint mission of the United Nations and the OSCE (with military and police components and international administration in temporarily occupied territories in Donbas), the concept also envisages a Donbas reconstruction agency organized by the European Union.

"We have seen over the past few years what is not fully understood in the Minsk agreements. An essential point is that for the implementation of the central element, for the holding of local elections, outside help is needed. We have come to the conclusion that this can only be the United Nations. The OSCE has the task of evaluating the election process, so it cannot organize the elections. The security aspect is added to this," he said.

According to the Austrian diplomat, the new plan was presented during the latest meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council in Milan in December, where representatives from Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France were present and they "could ask questions and make comments."

According to this concept, the UN and the OSCE should act not in parallel but together under a joint leadership, led by a so-called special representative. This applies both to the military and police components of the UN and to the OSCE observer mission that is already operating locally.

In addition, it is proposed to create an EU-led reconstruction agency that would operate in Donbas, following the example of what already existed in the Balkans. This agency, whose activities should be extended to all districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, should cooperate with the joint leadership of the UN and OSCE mission.

According to the Austrian diplomat, the new peace plan must be signed by the heads of the Normandy Four countries - Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany - and approved by their parliaments. "We need an agreement that really has political and legal weight. The Minsk agreements have not been ratified by either the Ukrainian or Russian parliaments, and this, of course, is a problem. Our idea is to have this political weight, which everyone adheres to when implementing the document, which should also be approved by parliaments," Sajdik said.

At the same time, the plan proposes the creation of a transitional UN administration in certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which should monitor the implementation of the peace plan and the reintegration of these regions. "The purpose of this measure is not to deprive the local population of power but, on the contrary, to guarantee that their rights are implemented. Add to that the element of amnesty," Sajdik said.

He also said: "The Minsk agreements stipulated that representatives of certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions are involved in the process and are heard, and this should be the case after the adoption of a new 'comprehensive agreement'."

The diplomat said that the number of UN peacekeepers in Donbas had not been counted, but he does not think that the issue will concern as many as 20,000, as some people say.

On January 16, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said in Severodonetsk that OSCE representatives, including those working on the Minsk platform, had proposed creating a joint UN and OSCE peacekeeping mission. This mission should have a military component, a police component and an international administration.

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