1 October 2019, 19:08
Humanitarian group fails to agree prisoner exchange date due to Kiev’s position - Kobtseva
LUGANSK, October 1 (Lugansk Media Centre) - The Contact Group humanitarian subgroup failed yet again to reach an accord on prisoner exchange due to Ukraine’s position, the Lugansk People’s Republic representative to the subgroup, head of LPR working group on prisoner exchange Olga Kobtseva said after the talks on Tuesday.
“Regrettably, today’s meeting in Minsk did not yield the long-expected results: no prisoner exchange accord has been reached; also, Kiev failed to complete the legal clearance of the persons due to be exchanged,” Kobtseva said. “The approach taken by Ukraine prevents the parties from reaching an agreement and exchange prisoners under the all verified for all verified principle.”
“Over the past two weeks, Kiev has not made a single move to meet halfway the people who could have been set free to reunite with their families; instead, they have to continue to languish in prison waiting for their release,” Kobtseva said.
She added that no progress had been made in the Stanitsa Luganskaya bridge repair issue either.
“The Ukrainian representative responsible for construction works, could not be reached during the working group’s meeting. The bridge width issue and other technicalities have not been settled,” she said.
Earlier, the LPR representative said that Kiev deliberately delayed prisoner exchange. It had not worked out a legal clearance mechanism for the persons due to the exchanged. Also, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) played a key role in foot-dragging over detainee clearance.
The LPR and the DPR suggested in Minsk to exchange the detainees under the the all verified for all verified formula. The Donbass Republics insisted on the exchange procedure that gives the parties time for completing “legal clearance.” The LPR and the DPR are ready to complete it within a month, while Ukraine requested about six weeks.
Prisoner exchange is a key point of the Minsk Agreements.
The Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements was adopted by the Contact Group on Ukraine on February 12, 2015 and supported by member states of the Normandy Four (Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France). The UN Security Council approved the document by Resolution 2202 and called upon all the sides to ensure full implementation of the Package of Measures.
The document provides for comprehensive ceasefire, withdrawal of all heavy weapons from the contact line, starting a dialog on reconstruction of social and economic ties between Kiev and Donbass. It also envisages carrying out constitutional reform in Ukraine providing for decentralization and adopting permanent legislation on a special status of certain areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
To facilitate the work of the Contact Group, four working groups were set up under its aegis to deal with issues of security, politics, return of internally displaced people and refuges, as well as with social, humanitarian, economic and rehabilitation issues.
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