Swiss pledge more support for Ukraine mission
Switzerland has pledged an additional CHF600,000 ($642,000) and ten more observers to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) monitoring mission in Ukraine. The Swiss hold the OSCE chairmanship through the end of 2014.
Swiss President and Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter announced his government’s additional OSCE support at the organisation’s Economic and Environmental Forum taking place in Prague.
In his opening speech at the event, Burkhalter welcomed the ceasefire agreement brokered last week in Ukraine as a “real chance to break the logic of escalation”. He added the OSCE was prepared to help Ukraine chart a political path to reconciliation and reforms in order to bring the conflict between Ukranians and pro-Russian separatists to an end.
Currently, six Swiss observers are on the ground as part of the OSCE’s special monitoring mission in Ukraine.
The organisation will soon be introducing drones to monitor the ceasefire. A spokesperson said on Wednesday that two drones would be deployed at the end of September or early October, and more would follow subsequently.
Discussions are also being held over whether national drones will be used as part of a contribution from states taking part in the monitoring scheme.
While in Prague, Burkhalter also met with Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaorálek. Their dialogue also centered largely on de-escalation of the Ukraine conflict, according to the Foreign Ministry.
In addition, the Prague Forum focused on prevention of natural disasters, with some participants having visited the Valais region of Switzerland to learn about disaster prevention and management efforts underway there.
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