Donbas conflict has been lasting since 2014. During this time, many ideas to resolve the conflict were voiced. Both foreign (Steinmeier and Herault, Morel, Kissinger) public figures and Ukrainian ones (Pinchuk, Avakov, Artemenko) have published their strategies. Nevertheless, only Minsk agreements became the common denominator. However, implementation of the Minsk accords lead to a crisis. OSCE Chairperson's Special Representative to the Trilateral Contact Group, Martin Sajdik proposed his own plan – the so-called “Sajdik’s plan.”
Who is Martin Sajdik?
Martin Sajdik is an Austrian citizen who has been the country's Permanent Representative to the United Nations since 2012. In 2015, Sajdik became OSCE Chairperson's Special Representative to the Trilateral Contact Group on solving Donbas conflict. He has been actively involved in the development and implementation of the Minsk agreements from the very beginning. He co-ordinates and maintains contact with representatives of Ukraine and Russia, participants from certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk region, as well as with a wide range of other actors. Sajdik is charged with identifying positions and scope for conflict-resolution efforts, including potential confidence-building measures.
Prior to this, Sajdik has served as the Permanent Representative of Austria to the United Nations, the People’s Republic of China, Mongolia and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. From 2003 until 2007, Ambassador Sajdik was Director General for Economic Affairs and European Integration. Between postings at the Austrian Embassy in Moscow (1980-1985 and 1989-1991) and with the Executive Secretariat of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe in Vienna (1986-1987), he held executive positions at a major Austrian construction company and an Austrian Bank in Moscow. Earlier in his career, he served at the Permanent Representation of Austria to the United Nations Office at Geneva.
Ambassador Sajdik studied law, international law and international relations in Vienna, Moscow and Bologna, and received his doctorate degree in law in Vienna in 1971. He is the author of several books on the “enlargement process of the EU”, published in Austria, Germany, USA and most recently in China.
The main points in terms of Sajdik’s plan are the elections in Donbas, the official nature of the document itself, and the organization of the European Agency for Donbas Recovery.
The point of local elections in the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions is one of the most difficult ones. Sajdik suggests that the UN and the OSCE should act under the general leadership, headed by a special representative. It is proposed to hold elections in Donbas under UN organization and OSCE monitoring.
According to Sajdik, the new peace plan must be signed by all leaders of the Normandy format countries (Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany). In addition, the document must be approved by the parliaments of the countries. However, it remains unclear whether the parliaments of the Normandy four countries should be involved.
Sajdik explains that such a document would have political and legal weight, as the crucial problem of the Minsk agreements is the lack of its ratification.
European Agency for Donbas Recovery
Sajdik suggests creating a structure similar to that created in the Balkans. In addition, he proposes the creation of a transitional UN administration to monitor implementation of the document and assist in the reintegration of the uncontrolled regions of Donbas into Ukraine’s legal field.
Thus, according to Sajdik, it would ensure the rights of the local population. He also referred a temporary amnesty. He also noted that a large number of representatives of the UN mission would not be needed for the implementation of this plan – 20 thousand people would be enough.
In fact, Sajdik’s plan might be perceived as a “road map” of the implementation of the Minsk agreements; there are no fundamental differences or contradictions between them. The only question is whether the states approve it. Neither Ukraine nor Russia has voiced the official statements regarding the Sajdik’s plan.