Statement by Ambassador Jerry Matjila, Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations, during the Security Council Meeting on Ukraine, 18 February 2020

Mr President,

Thank you for facilitating today’s discussion as per the Russian Federation’s letter dated 13 April 2014.

We thank the Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA) Rosemary DiCarlo; Ms Heidi Grau, Special Representative of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Chairperson-in-Office; and OSCE Special Monitoring Mission Chief Monitor Halit Cevik for their informative briefings.

Five years have passed since the signing of the Minsk agreements. While there have recently been some encouraging developments such as the meetings of the Normandy Four, the full implementation of all the provisions of the agreements has yet to be realized.  My delegation commends the OSCE for its efforts in Ukraine as it diligently executes its mandate in monitoring the implementation of the 2015 Minsk agreements, endorsed by this Council in Resolution 2202 (2015).  The OSCE has also been successful in facilitating dialogue among all parties in seeking a resolution to the situation. In this regard it is important that the OSCE’s Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, be allowed unhindered access to monitor and verify compliance with the Minsk agreements, in line with its mandate.

Mr President,

It remains necessary for all parties to fully implement all their respective commitments under the Minsk Agreements. We must stress that the Minsk agreements, including the package of measures agreed under Minsk II, provide the most promising roadmap for peace in the long term.

Mr President,

It is clear from the briefings we have heard that there remains an urgent need for the immediate cessation of hostilities in eastern Ukraine. The continued violations of the ceasefire, increased tensions due to the presence of heavy weapons and their use, in violation of the Minsk agreements, are of serious concern.

The on-going tensions and conflict have negatively impacted the humanitarian situation on the ground. We call for the urgent de-escalation of tensions, to allow a situation that is conducive for the alleviation of the humanitarian crisis and delivery of aid to those most in need.

We also encourage the parties to refrain from actions that could be viewed as provocative and exacerbating tensions. These place obstacles in the path of meaningful dialogue and may further impede a peaceful resolution to the situation, in line with the Minsk agreements.

Mr President,

Let me conclude by reiterating my country’s position on the need for compromise and dialogue. South Africa will continue to encourage the parties to strengthen all diplomatic efforts to produce a sustainable and peaceful solution. In this regard, we wish to reemphasise the importance of, and welcome the recent meetings of the Normandy Four countries – and the planned upcoming meetings. We encourage all efforts, including the increased role of the Normandy Four, in facilitating on-going initiatives towards building trust in seeking a long-term, peaceful and sustainable solution to the situation in Ukraine.

I thank you.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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