The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) will be able to stay in Ukraine monitoring the situation on the ground for a further six months after the end of the previously agreed mandate, September 20.
The OSCE Permanent Council on Tuesday approved a request from the Ukrainian government for the observers to stay, according to a statement by the 57-nation body.
Its Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) tries to calm the situation by mediating between the different parties involved – talking with different groups of people on the ground to try and bring about dialogue.
The observers gather information after specific incidents and on the security of areas where violence has broken out. They publish daily reports, while taking a strictly neutral approach.
Swiss foreign minister and current chairperson in office of the OSCE, Didier Burkhalter, has welcomed the extension of the mission, saying that the “value of impartially verified information…cannot be overestimated in tense and volatile situations”.
Burkhalter also commented on how the mission provided the “contacts” to enable access to the crash site of the MH17 Malaysia Airlines plane.
The mission is made up of 227 monitors from 41 countries, in addition to local staff.