BERN, 23 May, 2014 – Commending the Ukrainian authorities for their measures to reduce tensions, Swiss Foreign Minister and Chairperson-in-Office of the OSCE, Didier Burkhalter, called upon all sides – and particularly upon the parties of the Geneva Statement of 17 April –, to lend full support to the country in its efforts for de-escalation and for a peaceful solution of the crisis, including the holding of early presidential elections.
He emphasized the significance of the Memorandum of Peace and Concord adopted by the Ukrainian Parliament as a corner stone for discussions about decentralization and national unity. Referring to the three national roundtables organized and led by Ukraine ahead of the presidential elections of 25 May, Burkhalter acknowledged the authorities’ willingness to reach out to the Ukrainian people and to create a genuine dialogue among the different parts of the society and regions. Building up confidence of the population in state authority is key for stabilizing the situation, Burkhalter said. He also underlined the importance of prompt and thorough investigations and legally sound prosecutions of all acts of violence.
With election day approaching, Burkhalter called on all sides to act responsibly and to refrain from violence, threats, and provocations. Efforts to normalize the situation and to restore security for all in Ukraine have to go on beyond election day, he added. He asked all sides to contribute to rebuilding confidence and to choose dialogue as the way forward in shaping Ukraine’s future. The country could count on the OSCE and its Special Monitoring Mission to continue their support for fostering peace and stability and for strengthening an environment of tolerance, inclusiveness and democracy, the Swiss CiO concluded.