Dacic speaks before Helsinki Commission of the U.S. Congress

The ceasefire agreement between the pro-Russian forces and the Ukrainian side is observed for the most part, Ivica Dacic has said.

Source: Tanjug, TASS

The OSCE chairperson-in-office and Serbia's foreign minister Ivica Dacic spoke before the Helsinki Commission of the U.S. Congress on Wednesday to remark that the ceasefire in Ukraine was fragile," TASS reported.

The OSCE's top priority is to prevent the crisis in Ukraine from escalating and later turning into an even bigger conflict, he noted.

The OSCE is trying to ensure that the crisis is resolved through diplomatic means, the Russian agency quoted Dacic.

Commenting on meetings with the Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers Sergei Lavrov and Pavel Klimkin in New York on Monday, Dacic stated that "the two sides had agreed to extend the mandate of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine by another year."

"We managed to agree on extending the mandate of the mission by 12 months," he said, according to TASS.

The OSCE is permanently engaged in the search for a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Ukraine," said Dacic and added that Serbia's OSCE chairmanship coincides with the worst crisis in the European security since the end of the cold war.

We are fully committed to the joint engagement with main interested parties with a view to restoring peace in Ukraine and achieving stability for its people, Dacic said.

Serbia's OSCE chairmanship maximally advocates an unbiased and reliable continuation of this ambition and it will invest all the efforts to assist the restoration of peace in Ukraine and re-establishment of trust throughout the OSCE region.

"We fully appreciate the fact that the OSCE and European security are facing a critical stage," said Dacic who also holds office as the Serbian minister of foreign affairs, and added that the most important priority lies in protection of inclusive and cooperative character of OSCE's work and prevention of escalation of the crisis into a large-scale confrontation.

He said that the eyes of the entire world now rest on Ukraine, and the OSCE is also in the focus of global interest because of its key role in the supervision of ceasefire and withdrawal of the army and heavy weaponry. He also said that the truce is fragile but seems to be observed everywhere expect in the city of Debaltseve.

The OSCE, particularly the Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, is doing its share of work so as to make room for the ceasefire process and it is also investing all possible efforts with a view to resuming stability and paving the way for recovery and reconciliation, Dacic said in his address to the Helsinki Commission.

He noted that the Helsinki Commission plays an important role in the OSCE, and expressed gratitude for the support and cooperation with the U.S. Department of State in the work of the organisation.

Active efforts invested by the U.S. within the OSCE bear key importance for the organisation's efficiency, Dacic said and added that the U.S. truly represents one of the organisation's strongholds. The U.S. is strongly promoting the OSCE values and obligations and it is also giving its biggest contribution to the general OSCE budget and providing central support to the Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, Dacic said.

He noted that he deeply believes the OSCE has the key role in the comprehensive architecture of the European security as an inclusive platform for dialogue, building trust and bridging the expanding gap between the East and the West.

All this is integrated in the motto of Serbia's chairmanship embodied in reinforcement of faith and trust with a view to creating a positive agenda for the future, Dacic said and added that thorough efforts would be invested to this end.

Presenting the priorities of Serbia's OSCE chairmanship, Dacic underscored that Serbia's chairmanship will mainly focus on countering violent extremism and radicalisation that lead to terrorism, including the radicalisation of the young and the phenomenon of mercenaries.

Dacic noted that active efforts would be invested in order to include the civilian society in the OSCE work because the civilian society can and should play a key role in the protection of human rights and creating policies in the member countries.

"Serbia will intensify the efforts aimed at improvement of regional cooperation and reconciliation in the Western Balkans," Dacic said and added that Serbia derived direct benefits from the OSCE work and knows from its own experience just how important a contribution OSCE missions in the field can deliver.

Dacic will today in Washington meet with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, at the end of his visit to the U.S. made in his OSCE role.

The meeting will come days after Kerry told a U.S. Senate subcommittee that Serbia was among the countries "in the line of fire" when it comes to the Ukrainian crisis.


page 1 of 57 go to page