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2015 WM Composite Kanerva Dacic HallOSCE PA President Kanerva (top left) and OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Dacic (top right) address the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly's Winter Meeting, 19 February.

VIENNA, 19 February 2015 – OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic joined OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Ilkka Kanerva (MP, Finland) for the opening plenary of the PA's Winter Meeting today, with both stressing that the internationally brokered plan to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine must not be derailed.

Addressing nearly 250 parliamentarians from more than 50 OSCE participating States, Dacic described the current situation as a "very difficult moment for the security of the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian regions."

"I encourage all sides to fully adhere to the Package of Measures for the implementation of the Minsk agreements signed on 12 February, thus seizing the opportunity to de-escalate the conflict and put an end to civilian casualties. I strongly urge all sides to refrain from any action that might endanger the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine... Another opportunity for a peaceful resolution of the conflict should not be missed," the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office said.

He welcomed the PA's efforts to foster needed dialogue and compromise that complement the OSCE's other work on the crisis.

Read the full speech here .

The Chairperson-in-Office took questions from parliamentarians from across the OSCE area on the Serbian Chairmanship's priorities and issues ranging from the recent terror attacks in Paris and Copenhagen to frozen conflicts to gender equality to human trafficking.

In his address to the Assembly, President Kanerva said, "the agreement reached in Minsk hangs in the balance."

"It is shocking to hear the claims by rebels that there are exceptions to the ceasefire and areas where it does not apply. Make no mistake: There are no such things as exceptions here and such a precedent could have disastrous consequences for the entire Minsk process. Let us not take any detours on the road to much-needed peace in Ukraine," he said.

The PA President also asked parliamentarians and officials to consider whether an international peace-keeping mission in eastern Ukraine could complement the OSCE's work, helping to improve the humanitarian situation on the ground as well as safeguard OSCE personnel.

The full speech is  available here .

On 20 February at 13:30 CET, the Assembly will hold a special debate on the OSCE's response to the crisis in and around Ukraine. The session will begin with presentations by Ambassador Ertugrul Apakan, Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) and Ambassador Adam Kobieracki, Director of the OSCE Conflict Prevention Centre.

The debate will be live-streamed on oscepa.org.

The PA's Committees on Political Affairs and Security; Economic Affairs, Science, Technology and Environment; and Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions all met as well on the first full day of the Winter Meeting.

Each Committee heard presentations by senior OSCE officials in their respective fields and held special debates.

The political affairs committee debated the fight against terrorism, while the economic and environment committee considered strategies to enhance energy security and reduce environmental and economic challenges.

The human rights committee focused on the rights of migrants and refugees after hearing from Crimean Tatar Mustafa Dzhemiliev and Syrian Saad Fandi on their personal experiences as displaced persons.

Chair Isabel Santos (MP, Portugal) presented the Committee leadership's report on the Guantanamo detention facility.

On 18 February, the Assembly held its annual Mediterranean Forum, where OSCE parliamentarians and lawmakers from OSCE Mediterranean Partners for Co-operation exchanged views on topics including the crisis in Syria, the situation in Libya, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and migration.

Videos of all sessions will be available on the OSCE PA's YouTube page

Photos are available on the OSCE PA's Flickr page.

The OSCE PA's Winter Meeting is the first of three major annual gatherings on the Assembly's calendar. The Meeting provides an opportunity for OSCE parliamentarians to engage in dialogue with high-level OSCE officials on the latest developments in the OSCE area, debate and consider a range of topics and reinforce interparliamentary contacts.