Statement delivered by Carolyn Schwalger, Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, 24 February 2015.

We commend Minister Ivica Dačić, in his capacity as Chairperson-in-Office, for his efforts to strengthen the range of activities of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in promoting regional stability and security. We acknowledge that it is a challenging role.

As a regional organization, the OSCE has important functions across the full spectrum of the Security Council’s mandate — from early warning to conflict prevention, conflict management and conflict resolution and tackling root causes. We strongly support cooperation between the Security Council and the OSCE, not only in immediate crises but in the full range of peace and security issues dealt with by the OSCE.

 In particular, we commend and support strongly the OSCE’s engagement in the situation in Ukraine and its efforts towards finding a peaceful solution. We members of the Council must continue to play our role and our part, including by continuing to apply pressure on the parties to adhere to the commitments made in Minsk, most immediately to observe the ceasefire and withdraw heavy weaponry.

By unanimously adopting resolution 2202 (2015), the Security Council sent a strong message that it stands behind the OSCE as it carries out its activities in Ukraine, particularly the monitoring and verification of the ceasefire. It is unacceptable that the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission has not been guaranteed safe, secure passage to certain areas by the separatists, including Debaltseve. Without safety guarantees, it cannot do its job.

We call for all parties to the conflict to ensure safe and unfettered access by the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission, as provided for under the package of measures for the implementation of the Minks agreements. Those provisions must be respected. We reiterate our call on Russia to use its influence with the separatist groups to comply with what has been agreed.

Furthermore, in the absence of mandated reporting from the ground by the Secretary-General, the Special Monitoring Mission is best placed to provide accurate reporting on the implementation of the ceasefire and is an important source of information to enable the Council to remain properly seized of the situation.