GEORGIA CRISIS UNDERLINES CRITICAL IMPORTANCE OF COOPERATION BETWEEN UNITED NATIONS, ORGANIZATION FOR SECURITY AND COOPERATION IN EUROPE, SECURITY COUNCIL TOLD

26 September 2008
SC/9456

GEORGIA CRISIS UNDERLINES CRITICAL IMPORTANCE OF COOPERATION BETWEEN UNITED NATIONS, ORGANIZATION FOR SECURITY AND COOPERATION IN EUROPE, SECURITY COUNCIL TOLD

26 September 2008
Security Council
SC/9456
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

5982nd Meeting (AM)

GEORGIA CRISIS UNDERLINES CRITICAL IMPORTANCE OF COOPERATION BETWEEN UNITED NATIONS,

ORGANIZATION FOR SECURITY AND COOPERATION IN EUROPE, SECURITY COUNCIL TOLD

 

Chairman-in-Office , Finland ’s Foreign Minister, Briefs;

Outlines Progress of Cooperative Efforts in Georgia, Afghanistan, Kosovo

Recent crises, such as the situation in Georgia, had underlined the critical importance of cooperation between the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the United Nations, the Finnish chairmanship of the organization told the Security Council this morning.

“The United Nations and OSCE, as the largest and most inclusive regional organization under Chapter VIII of the UN Charter, are and must remain partners of destiny, engaged together in the search to strengthen an international order founded on cooperative security,” Alexander Stubb, Foreign Minister of Finland and Chairman-in-Office of OSCE, said.

Under the Finish chairmanship, he said, OSCE would further promote implementation of United Nations principles, conventions and other international instruments.  It would continue to provide wide support in efforts to combat terrorism, illicit small arms, and trafficking in human beings and promote tolerance.  The organization’s early-warning, crisis management and post-conflict activities were crucial components of a United Nations-based international order.  His presidency would re-energize activities aimed at preventing and resolving conflicts.

Turning to Georgia, he said that OSCE had been at the forefront of international efforts to build lasting peace in Georgia.  His priorities in that crisis included, first, to stop the fighting and monitor the withdrawal of forces to peacetime positions, according to the so-called Sarkozy II plan, and, second, to start consolidating the basis for long-term security. 

OSCE, its Chairman and its mission to Georgia had crucial roles in exploring ceasefire opportunities and monitoring the resulting agreement with a bolstered force of monitoring officers, all in full cooperation with the United Nations and the European Union.

The negotiations on the deployment of the remaining 80 OSCE monitors to areas adjacent to South Ossetia had proven to be difficult, however, as they touched on issues of great political sensitivity.  At the same time, he expected the eight original monitoring officers to regain access to South Ossetia in accordance with their mandate, as well as the re-opening of the OSCE Field Office in Tskhinvali to be possible soon.  He speculated that missions to that area could be started in the next few days, if security could be guaranteed.  He thanked the Russian and French Foreign Ministers for their efforts in that area.

Mr. Stubb also briefed the Council on its continued cooperation with the United Nations and other partners in Kosovo and Afghanistan.

Following the briefing, several Council members took the floor to praise OSCE’s cooperation with the United Nations and other regional organizations, many focusing on the situation in Georgia.  And most urged that the deployment of the remaining monitors be allowed to proceed.

While some speakers implied that the Russian Federation was holding up progress in that area, the representative of that State also pledged support to the monitoring process and said OSCE played an important role.  He hoped the observers would strictly carry out their mandate and cooperate with the European Union monitors in the zones adjacent to South Ossetia.

Like other speakers, he also regretted that no decision has been taken about deployment of the remaining 80 monitors, but he said that it had occurred because the United States and other members had distorted some of the provisions of the Sarkozy agreement.

The meeting began at 10:10 a.m. and ended at 10:55 a.m.

Background

The Security Council met this morning to hear a briefing by the Chairman-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).  The last such briefing took place on 28 September 2007.  (See Press Release SC/9132.)

Briefing by OSCE Chairman

ALEXANDER STUBB, Foreign Minister of Finland and Chairman-in-Office of OSCE, stressed the integral partnership of his organization with the United Nations.  “The United Nations and OSCE, as the largest and most inclusive regional organization under Chapter VIII of the UN Charter, are and must remain partners of destiny, engaged together in the search to strengthen an international order founded on cooperative security,” he said.

Under the Finish chairmanship, he said, OSCE would further promote implementation of United Nations principles, conventions and other international instruments.  It would continue to provide wide support in efforts to combat terrorism, illicit small arms, and trafficking in human beings and promote tolerance.  The organization’s early-warning, crisis management and post-conflict activities were crucial components of a United Nations-based international order.  His presidency would re-energize activities aimed at preventing and resolving conflicts.

Turning to challenges faced by both organizations, he said that OSCE had been at the forefront of international efforts to build lasting peace in Georgia.  His priorities in that crisis included, first, to stop the fighting and monitor the withdrawal of forces to peacetime positions, according to the so-called Sarkozy II plan and, second, to start consolidating the basis for long-term security.  OSCE, its Chairman and its mission to Georgia had crucial roles in exploring ceasefire opportunities and monitoring the resulting agreement with a bolstered force of monitoring officers, all in full cooperation with the United Nations and the European Union.

The negotiations on the deployment of the remaining 80 OSCE monitors to areas adjacent to South Ossetia had proven to be difficult, however, as they touched on issues of great political sensitivity.  At the same time, he expected the eight original monitoring officers to regain access to South Ossetia in accordance with their mandate, as well as the re-opening of the OSCE Field Office in Tskhinvali to be possible soon.  He speculated the missions to that area could start in the next few days, if security could be guaranteed.  He thanked the Russian and French Foreign Ministers for their efforts in that area.

In regard to long-term stability in Georgia, he said that the Security Council should have a key role.  There was a need for a comprehensive approach to the conflict in both South Ossetia, where OSCE had taken the lead, and in Abkhazia, which had been managed within the United Nations framework.  The ceasefire agreement would be best followed up by a new international platform with the authority and the resources to deal with both conflicts, convened by the United Nations, OSCE and the European Union, together with the stakeholders in the conflict. 

Turning to Kosovo, he said there was good cooperation with the United Nations in the area and OSCE had its largest deployment with 800 staff on the ground.  He considered it important that the Secretary-General had referred specifically to the need for continued OSCE presence.  To ensure stability, OSCE must remain part of the international presence after reconfiguration of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).

In regard to Afghanistan, an OSCE partner for cooperation sharing borders with three Members, he said that the organization intended to intensify its efforts in policing and fighting against drug trafficking.  Those efforts would be done in complete cooperation with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

Recent events had highlighted the fragility of the rules-based international order that the United Nations tried to build with the support of his organization.  The crisis in Georgia, in particular, had underlined the critical importance of cooperation between the two organizations.  A major lesson from that conflict was that there was no such thing as a frozen conflict; it was time to act quickly to settle outstanding conflicts.  A second lesson was that international security structures should be redirected to provide real security and stability to member countries and their inhabitants.  OSCE should be part of such long-term efforts, which should begin with the Helsinki ministerial meeting in December.

Statements

RAMA YADE, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of France, said her country strongly supported OSCE, which was the only organization that brought together all Member States between Vancouver and Vladivostok.  The European Union and OSCE were deeply complementary and shared the same values.  They were, however, not working together closely and the French Presidency of the European Union would focus on mending that situation. 

She said there had been close cooperation during the Georgia crisis between the European Union and OSCE.  OSCE and European Union missions were working closely together on the ground.  OSCE also played a positive role in Kosovo, guaranteeing a multi-ethnic and democratic future.  OSCE had an important role to play in Central Asia and the Union was also becoming a partner in that region.  The French Union Presidency would focus efforts on security issues in Central Asia regarding integrated border management and the fight against drugs.  OSCE had been founded in the belief that security went hand in hand with human rights and democracy.  Their election monitoring missions should be encouraged and supported. 

KAREL DE GUCHT, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Belgium, expressed his support for the activities of OSCE, a regional organization as recognized under Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations.  OSCE, with its political-military, economic-environmental, and humanitarian dimension and its presence on the ground, continued to play a role in the stabilization of the region.

He thanked the Chairman-in-Office and the organization for its efforts regarding the situation in Georgia.  Referring to the agreement of 19 August to send 100 additional observers to the areas adjacent to South Ossetia to complement the eight observers inside South Ossetia, he said 20 had been sent to Georgia immediately.  He, therefore, deplored the fact that no agreement could be reached on the modalities of the deployment of the additional OSCE observers, so that the 80 remaining observers could not be dispatched.  Together with the European Union and the United Nations, OSCE would have an important role to play in the upcoming discussions in Geneva.

KAREN PIERCE ( United Kingdom) agreed with the importance of OSCE cooperation with the United Nations in the many areas mentioned and thanked the Chairman for his efforts in helping to bring about a peaceful resolution of the Georgia crisis.  She shared the disappointment with the difficulties that had been encountered in further access of monitors, due to the recalcitrance of one Member State, but expressed hope that recent negotiations would bear fruit in that area.  She asked all parties to ensure that the monitors had adequate protection.

In Kosovo, she said that OSCE was playing an important role, and its role in promoting human rights, particularly of minorities, was crucial.  She hoped it would continue to bolster the efforts of other actors, such as the European Union.  The role OSCE played on Afghanistan’s northern border was also very important and she hoped that its coordination would continue with all other international organizations in that area, as well.

ROSEMARY DI CARLO ( United States) said OSCE had a multifaceted approach to security that included human rights and economic elements.  Expressing support for United Nations-OSCE cooperation, she commended the work OSCE had done in Georgia contributing to a comprehensive solution to the conflict.  OSCE had responded quickly to the crisis by sending military officers.  She regretted that the Russian Federation had blocked access for monitors to the South Ossetia area.  The international monitors must have access to all of Georgia.

She said that, in Kosovo, institutions had been built with the assistance of OSCE and the United Nations and had become fully functional.  A constitution had been adopted and OSCE had played an important role in reaching out to minorities.  Important projects were under way in Afghanistan.  The OSCE Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights had set the gold standard in election monitoring, and the United States would welcomed its monitors for the presidential elections.

GIULIO TERZI ( Italy) said his country supported the Chairman’s efforts to revitalize the organization, which remained a much needed actor in promoting regional stability, security and cooperation.  He also supported the cooperation between the United Nations and the regional and subregional organizations, in accordance with the provisions of Chapter VIII of the Charter.  Regional organizations could reinforce and complement United Nations efforts through an active role in maintaining international peace and security in areas such as crisis management, peacekeeping operations and counter-terrorism.  OSCE had established a successful record in that regard.

He said that, together with the European Union, OSCE had played a crucial role in Georgia and would continue to be instrumental in the implementation of the 12 August and 8 September agreements, as well as for the Geneva conference.  His country also welcomed the continued presence of OSCE in Kosovo, where it contributed to the protection of human rights, particularly minority rights, and played an important role in ensuring regional stability and security.  He expected OSCE to follow up on the ministerial decision concerning its engagement in Afghanistan with concrete projects and activities.  The Ministerial Council in December would be an opportunity to pursue a constructive and open dialogue on all main outstanding issues.

RANKO VILOVIĆ ( Croatia) said the complementarity of the OSCE mandate with the United Nations and the revitalization of the organization were appreciated, as was the organization’s role in Georgia.  He said that the Chairman had actually been modest in his briefing; OSCE could boast of achievements in many fields.  In addition, he supported the Chairman’s call to wipe the notion of frozen conflicts out of the international lexicon.

VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) expressed support for cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations within the framework of Chapter VIII of the Charter.  In that regard, it was crucial to have a clear division of labour, with full respect for the Council’s responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.  As a regional mechanism, OSCE had established close cooperation with the United Nations in areas of security and settlement of regional conflicts.

He said OSCE had played an important role in the August crisis in the Caucasus.  He hoped the observers would strictly carry out their mandate and cooperate with the European Union monitors in the zones adjacent to South Ossetia.  Like other speakers, he also regretted that no decision has been taken about deployment of the remaining 80 monitors, because the United States and other members had distorted some of the provisions of the Sarkozy document.

In reaction to speakers’ comments, Mr. STUBB thanked members for their support.  He had heard that there was still strong support to get in 100 observers to areas adjacent to South Ossetia and he would continue those efforts.  The key regions for OSCE were the western Balkans, the Caucasus -- including Georgia, and the conflicts regarding Azerbaijan and Armenia and Moldova -- and Central Asia.  OSCE’s role in the western Balkans was institution-building, in the Caucuses conflict management and in Central Asia consolidation.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.