In Ukraine, on the steps to be taken by Albania’s OSCE Chairmanship - 20 January 2020

Kiev, Ukraine, joint press conference by Prime Minister Edi Rama and the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko on the steps Albania’s OSCE Chairmanship needs to take in order to relieve life of population on both sides of border:

Ukrainian FM Vadym Prystaiko: Dear colleagues and friends!

We are very happy to welcome you here in the premises of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Today we have the unique opportunity to talk following our meeting with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Albania, who currently holds two more capacities as from this year he has taken over the post of the Chairperson-in-office of the OSCE. I would kindly ask you to be very diplomatic with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Albania, since he has lots of meetings today. First, he will be meeting our Prime Minister, then the President and many other high-level officials and has lots to discuss with them.

Of course, we have had the opportunity to sign bilateral negotiations with the Albanian delegation, but we also placed more focus on the accomplishments we need to achieve throughout this year and how better should we achieve progress towards a peaceful resolution in Eastern Ukraine. We discussed with the Prime Minister on how to build a better cooperation within the OSCE, as well as the Ukraine’s expectations from the activities of the OSCE and the activities of the Special Monitoring Mission and we have formally applied for the extension of this Mission in Ukraine, not only during his mandate as OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, but also expansion of financial and human resources in order to increase the Mission’s effectiveness this year.

We also discussed challenging issues concerning the relations with the Russian Federation, the political solution to the crisis and the situation in the East, Crimea.

All these issues were part of the discussion with our OSCE colleagues. I believe that this year will be successful for the OSCE and I am confident we will also develop very good bilateral relations between Albania and Ukraine. For a long time, we have working to open a Ukrainian embassy in Tirana and this year we will hopefully open it, thus taking another step towards closer relations between our two countries.

Prime Minister Edi Rama: Thank you Minister!

First of all, on behalf of the whole delegation I would like to express my gratitude for the very warm hospitality and I also want to thank you for the frank and quite productive discussion. Of course, I am looking forward to meeting with the Prime Minister, the President and also other senior officials later.

It is not a coincidence that my first official visit as the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office takes place in Ukraine and it reflects the great importance I attach to the efforts to address the crisis in and around Ukraine. In my view, this remains the most pressing challenge for the security and stability in Europe today. We will do our utmost to ensure respect for the OSCE principles and the organization’s commitments and, of course, we will strongly encourage full implementation of the Minsk Agreement, supporting the Trilateral Contact Group’s efforts, as well as the process of the Normandy Format.

But in the meantime, while the agreements, contacts and formats are being discussed for a long time now and perhaps a lot of more time will be needed, but what remains crucial every day is the life of people and the hardship facing all of those living in the conflict-affected areas. And it is exactly there where we will work tirelessly to make everything possible, because ensuring the stop of shooting and a sustainable ceasefire is absolutely vital and again, first of all for the lives of people. The conflict continues to inflict civilian casualties and this is unacceptable and this is something that should stop. That’s why our aim is to first and foremost is to ensure full and sustainable ceasefire.

The resumption of the high-level dialogue and the outcomes of the Normandy Summit are certainly steps in the right direction. Nevertheless, a lot remains to be done and we all know it. It is a long road to go to the lasting peace and we all know it. And I am here to tell all of you that my special Representative in Ukraine and the Trilateral Contact Group, Ambassador Heidi Grau, will be exploring, together with other participants, our best to move forward.

We shared with the Minister the conviction that the contribution given by the dedicated women and men of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine is unique and essential to reducing tension and fostering peace and I share with the Minister the indispensability to further strengthen and provide more support to the Mission through a more solid budget in order to make sure that this Special Monitoring Mission not only continues to play its role, but pay its role even better and of course with larger capacities and technology support.

I very much hope that weather will allow us to complete this visit with a trip to the Eastern Ukraine, where I would like to see first-hand the security and the humanitarian situation in the conflict-affected areas and the practical impact of SMM on the ground.

To conclude, let me assure you of my determination and dedication and commitment of the entire OSCE team and people to help and bring more about the peaceful resolution of this conflict and possibly improve the lives of those brutally affected by this conflict.

Thank you!

Mr. Rama, what would be your priorities in your capacity as the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office to relieve the life of the population in the conflict-affected areas here in Ukraine?

PM Rama: Frankly, this is the core of our Mission, because we are aware that there are many big actors and practically a lot of others make efforts in, so to say, the upper levels of this conflict, but frankly not much of it is focused on the ordinary people, on people who have to live in this conflict and go through all these hardship and consequences. We are very much honoured to do whatever it takes and whatever we can for them. And it was with a lot of satisfaction that I heard from the Minister himself how much concern there is on the Ukrainian side about exactly the ordinary people and how much attention and efforts the Ukrainian authorities have put and want to continue to put in addressing their hardship. So, we are not here to promise any miracle. We know quite well this is a very complex crisis and we are here because we also know that there is something we can do better than the others in helping to provide relief as much as possible to those who live there and are totally innocent and do not deserve the hardship and brutality of this conflict. This is our top priority; make whatever the difference we can on the ground, while the formulas, the contacts and the whole big words continue to go around, and possibly achieve bigger results. We just want to bring about change, as much as possible, and we will do our best for this. We have great skilled people in the ground and we will do everything we can to deploy more people in the ground with more resources and this will be something we will fight for, as it was also requested by the Minister and the government of Ukraine, because this is something that has to do with the people and the people are the most important thing.

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