What You Need To Know:
✓ Ceasefire on the ground since September 2015 is creating space for 'political process to develop';
✓ Communication has been difficult because the conflict is very bitter and the level of mistrust has made it hard to negotiate;
✓ OSCE welcomes local elections in separatist held areas based on Ukrainian legislation but fears problems with access and safety;
✓ Local elections in East Ukraine could be the next right step in fixing the crisis.
Lamberto Zannier, Secretary General of the OSCE, says that the fact that the ceasefire is currently holding opens opportunities for the OSCE to effectively do its work. He says he recently visited Shyrokyne, spoke to Mayor of Mariupol, and visited the site where the OSCE launches its UAV's. He believes this is a real chance for political process to develop and Minsk is priority number 1.
He also admits that the Normandy format is a welcome leadership group to help solve the conflict because OSCE is a facilitator for ending the conflict, through different propositions.
"Just the fact that there are discussions now is a big step and a real win for everyone. The ceasefire is central precondition for anything else." says Zannier.
With regards to the further implementation of Minsk, he says "We have an arrangement on holding elections there (occupied areas) and those elections are based on Ukrainian legislation. We will do whatever we can to monitor them, but we still have problems with access in separatist controlled areas, and to do our jobs effectively, we need that access. We need security guarantees for observers because we need to know that anyone we put there will be safe, and that will create credibility for the elections and lead to a more stable future."
Hromadske International's Maxim Eristavi spoke with Lamberto Zannier at the YES conference in Kyiv on September 13th, 2015.