Toni Frisch sees “light of hope” at Minsk talks after Ukraine government chang

October 08, 2019 18:23

Donetsk, Oct 8 – DAN. Contact Group humanitarian subgroup coordinator for OSCE Toni Frisch has noted positive changes in the Donbass peace process over the past few months.

“A new light of hope has appeared in the negotiations over the past few months,” Frisch said in an interview to the Donetsk News Agency in comments on the Minsk talks atmosphere following the change of government in Ukraine.

As an example, he referred to the recent event in Stanitsa Luganskaya as the conflicting parties met the terms of the Framework Agreement on the disengagement of forces and hardware and reached an understanding on the repairs of the bridge which links the Lugansk People’s Republic with Kiev-controlled territory.

“It’s a big achievement from the humanitarian point of view,” Frisch said.

In 2019, Ukraine held presidential and early parliamentary election. Vladimir Zelensky won the polls in the second round and was inaugurated in May. Zelensky’s political party “Servant of the People” got 254 seats in the parliament forming the first ever single party majority. Zelensky’s associates subsequently got Cabinet jobs.

Many experts viewed this overall authority as a real opportunity to end the Donbass conflict as Zelensky repeatedly said that the conflict settlement was his key objective. Frisch also noted the new Ukrainian president’s “clear statements” calling for establishing peace.

Toni Frisch is a career Swiss diplomat; he worked at the UN and the Swiss Foreign Ministry and headed the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit. He gained considerable experience as international crisis manager thanks to his 40-year record of assistance to countries hit by disasters or military conflicts. He visited more than 80 countries during his career.

Frisch has been the humanitarian subgroup coordinator for OSCE at the Minsk talks over the Donbass settlement since 2015. He repeatedly visited the DPR and the LPR in this capacity; he last visited Donetsk in April 2019.*jk