8479th Security Council Meeting: Briefing by OSCE

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07-Mar-2019 01:49:01
Eastern Ukraine, Transnistrian settlement process among priorities of top organization in Europe, chair tells Security Council at 8479th meeting.

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Preventing and resolving conflicts is the top priority for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), its Chairperson-in-Office told the Security Council today, as he outlined priority actions to decrease tensions in Ukraine, Transnistria, Georgia and Nagorno-Karabakh.

Miroslav Lajčák, Minister for Foreign and European Affairs of Slovakia, which holds the rotating Chairmanship for 2019, said Ukraine’s people feel hopeless and abandoned because commitments to resolve the crisis are not being upheld. He aims to advance a proposal to repair a damaged bridge in Luhansk, which serves as the only open entry-exit point. OSCE is also ready to engage on any Council proposals for a new United Nations mission in Ukraine.

To resolve the Transnistrian Settlement Process, he advocated progress on the “package of eight” measures, with next steps focused on public transport and telecommunications. OSCE is prepared to host a “5+2” meeting in Bratislava, depending on events following parliamentary elections. In Georgia, he called for the reopening of crossing points, and in Nagorno-Karabakh, creating more positive momentum. Having recently visited Azerbaijan, he will visit Armenia the week of 11 March, with trips to the Western Balkans and Central Asia also on the books.

As the world’s largest security organization, OSCE is committed to supporting the United Nations global mandate at the regional level. “I believe that we need to continue working together,” he said, perhaps more so than today. “The stakes are quite high.”

In the ensuing debate, delegates agreed that the security landscape has changed since the founding of both institutions, with several echoing the Chair’s priorities and reiterating their commitment to effective multilateralism. Many underlined the importance of non-interference, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

In that context, the representative of the United States remarked that five years had passed since the Russian Federation’s illegal occupation of Crimea and instigation of conflict in eastern Ukraine, while Poland’s delegate decried Moscow’s unjustifiable use of military force there. Belgium’s delegate urged parties to allow the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission safe and unhampered access to the entire country. Like others, the United Kingdom’s representative encouraged adherence to the Minsk agreements.

The representative of France, Council president for March, spoke in his national capacity to note that OSCE facilitates dialogue as part of the Trilateral Contact Group, where discussions are currently deadlocked. There is a need for recommitment, notably by the Russian Federation and the groups it supports.

On that point, the representative of the Russian Federation thanked the Special Monitoring Mission for its “frank” analysis that there is no evidence of his country’s military presence in Ukraine’s Donbas region. While the statements made today might give the impression that OSCE only considers the situation in eastern Ukraine, in fact, it works to build peace for 1 billion people. Indeed, depoliticized conversations are needed.

Also speaking today were representatives of Indonesia, China, Côte d'Ivoire, South Africa, Dominican Republic, Peru, Kuwait, Equatorial Guinea and Germany.

The meeting began at 10:05 a.m. and ended at 11:53 a.m.

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