Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, Chair of Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Briefs Security Council on Goals, Priorities for 2013

7 May 2013
SC/10998

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, Chair of Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Briefs Security Council on Goals, Priorities for 2013

7 May 2013
Security Council
SC/10998
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

6961st Meeting (PM)

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, Chair of Organization for Security and Cooperation

in Europe, Briefs Security Council on Goals, Priorities for 2013

The upcoming fortieth anniversary of the accord that formed the backbone of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) should serve as a catalyst to re-energize the 57-member body, Ukraine’s Minister for Foreign Affairs told the Security Council today, as he sketched out the priorities for his country’s Chairmanship of the OSCE in 2013.

Indeed, the year 2015 would mark four decades since the signing of the Helsinki Final Act by the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, recalled Leonid Kozhara, noting that the “Helsinki+40” process, initiated last year in Dublin, was a promising framework to maintain the OSCE’s recent political momentum, overcome divergences and clarify OSCE’s roles and goals in the world’s modern security architecture.

The Ukrainian Chairmanship had set a number of ambitious goals with priorities across the three dimensions of security — politico-military, economic and environmental and human.  Progress in finding sustainable and long-term solutions to the protracted conflicts in the OSCE area topped its agenda, he said, adding in particular that Ukraine was determined to contribute to the Transnistrian settlement process, as well as to resolve security and humanitarian issues in the area of conflict in Georgia and to find a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

In other areas, he stressed that conventional arms control, as well as confidence-building measures, were an important part of common efforts to strengthen peace and stability in the OSCE area, and drew the Council’s attention to several memorandums of understanding between the OSCE and the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs.  There was also a need to pay particular attention to transnational threats and to continue to explore areas for enhanced interaction with Afghanistan as international security forces withdrew from the country in 2014, he said.

Another core theme of the Ukrainian Chairmanship was increasing stability and security by improving the environmental footprint of energy-related activities, he said.  On the human dimension — which was central to the concept of comprehensive security — the fight against trafficking in human beings remained a key issue.  In that regard, the OSCE would continue to pursue a comprehensive, human rights-based approach to human trafficking in close cooperation with a number of United Nations organizations, as well as on a bilateral basis.

Following the briefing, all 15 Council members took the floor to welcome the OSCE agenda for 2013, as well as strengthened cooperation between the OSCE and the United Nations.  Many speakers, including the representative of Luxembourg, agreed that the Helsinki+40 process should make it possible to achieve an ambitious vision for the OSCE.  Still others felt that the OSCE’s achievements already demonstrated the contributions of regional and subregional organizations to strengthening the multilateral system.

In that vein, the representative of the Republic of Korea, welcoming the OSCE’s increased focus on non-proliferation, stressed that the Helsinki process held special significance in parts of the world, such as North-East Asia, where cooperation on security remained at a nascent stage.  Meanwhile, the representative of Morocco — one of the OSCE’s Mediterranean partners — lauded efforts to combat terrorism, fight human trafficking and foster development, while calling on the OSCE to facilitate a more participatory approach with its partners.

The representative of China was among those speakers emphasizing that, while the Security Council bore the primary responsibility for international peace and security, the OSCE and other regional and subregional organizations were well placed to support those efforts.  The OSCE was an important partner and China supported the Council’s cooperation with it in a manner that was more results-oriented and effective.

The President of the Council, speaking in his national capacity as Togo’s representative, welcomed the OSCE’s creation of a “security community” and expressed his support for the Chairman’s focus on cooperation.  Indeed, he said, “no State, no institution — no matter how strong they may be — can tackle threats to international peace and security alone”.

Also speaking today were the representatives of the Russian Federation, Australia, Pakistan, France, United States, Guatemala, Argentina, United Kingdom, Rwanda and Azerbaijan.

The meeting began at 3:05 p.m. and ended at 4:49 p.m.

Background

The Security Council convened this afternoon to hear a briefing by Leonid Kozhara, Chairperson-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), as well as related statements by Council members.

Briefing

LEONID KOZHARA, Chairperson-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, said that, “with a comprehensive approach to security and […] a geographic scope stretching from Vancouver to Vladivostok, the OSCE enjoys a unique position among all other regional organizations under Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter”.  He recalled that the year 2015 would mark four decades since the signing of the Helsinki Final Act, an accord which formed the backbone of the OSCE.  That anniversary should serve as a catalyst to re-energize the organization.  The “ Helsinki+40” process, initiated last year in Dublin, was a promising framework to maintain the political momentum provided by the 2010 Astana Summit.  The Ukrainian Chairmanship would facilitate that dialogue, focusing on overcoming divergences and clarifying OSCE’s roles and goals in the modern security architecture.

He said the Ukrainian Chairmanship had set ambitious goals with a number of priorities across the three dimensions of security.  For one thing, it aimed to update and modernize the OSCE politico-military instrument.  The Chairmanship remained strongly engaged with the United Nations Friends of Mediation and attached great importance to confidence- and security-building measures.  Progress in finding sustainable and long-term solutions to the protracted conflicts in the OSCE area topped its agenda.  In that vein, Ukraine was strongly determined to contribute to the Transnistrian settlement process, and called for constructive engagement by all participants to the “5+2” talks.  Direct dialogue between the political leadership of Chisinau and Tiraspol was crucial.

The Ukrainian Chairmanship further supported efforts undertaken within the framework of the Geneva International Discussions, aimed at solving security and humanitarian issues in the area of conflict of Georgia, and efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group of Co-Chairs in assisting the parties to find a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.  During his upcoming visit to the South Caucasus in June, he intended to support the call of the Co-Chairs for a more active engagement in negotiations.  Development in South Eastern Europe was another focus, he added, noting that the European Union-led dialogue welcomed the Brussels agreement of 19 April, and that, where possible, the OSCE would provide support in line with its mandate.

Conventional arms control, as well as confidence-building measures, were an important part of common efforts to strengthen peace and stability in the OSCE area, he continued.  As a strong advocate of non-proliferation, Ukraine, together with other countries, had introduced the draft of the updated 1994 OSCE Principles Governing Non-Proliferation, which was expected to be finalized before the Kyiv OSCE Ministerial Council in December.  Drawing the Council’s attention to several memorandums of understanding between the OSCE and the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, he stressed the need to pay particular attention to the OSCE response to transnational threats.  In that respect, there was merit to deepening cooperation with the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.  A Joint Plan of Action for 2013-2014 was recently signed with the latter, he added.

He said that the security, political and economic transitions in Afghanistan, as well as the planned withdrawal of international security forces there in 2014, would continue to have security implications for the OSCE area.  The organization, therefore, would continue to explore areas for enhanced interaction with Afghanistan and improved cooperation with relevant international actors.

Another core theme of the Ukrainian Chairmanship was increasing stability and security by improving the environmental footprint of energy-related activities, he said.  On the human dimension — which was central to the concept of comprehensive security — the fight against trafficking in human beings remained a key issue.  The OSCE would continue to pursue a comprehensive, human rights-based approach to that global crime in close cooperation with a number of United Nations organizations, as well as on a bilateral basis, and it would organize an international conference on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings in June in Kyiv.  Additional priorities in that area included strengthening media freedom and promoting tolerance and non-discrimination through youth education.  In that regard, Ukraine planned to host an OSCE Youth Summit, also in June.

Statements

VITALY I. CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) called for scaling up cooperation with the OSCE, as it complemented the United Nations’ work in combating trans-border threats.  OSCE priorities for the coming year matched those of the Russian Federation, and his country would assist the Chair, as it supported enhancing the conventional weapons control regime.  He also welcomed the Chair’s efforts to help States settle conflicts within existing formats and scale up the combat of human trafficking.  He hoped Ukraine would comply with the Chair’s mandate, fully taking into account the views of all Member States on the basis of shared goals.

He supported turning the OSCE into a fully fledged international organization.  It could draw up a legally binding charter for the participation of non-governmental organizations in its events.  He also attached great importance to the OSCE’s counter-terrorism and illegal drug trafficking efforts, as well as to its elections observation role, supporting a comparative analysis of electoral laws and the drawing up of electoral standards.  Further, he attached great importance to protecting the rights of minorities and addressing statelessness in Latvia.  The OSCE must more actively address the social aspects of human rights.

PHILIPPA KING ( Australia) said the OSCE had much to offer the Council, especially its expertise in arms control, counter-terrorism and conflict prevention, adding that close cooperation with such regional organizations could be a decisive part of efforts to maintain global peace and security.  Australia, as an Asia partner country of the OSCE since 2009, supported its projects to enhance local, national and regional capacities to combat human trafficking and protect vulnerable groups in Central Asia.  Australia also had co-chaired the 2013 OSCE Asian Partners Conference.

Endorsing the OSCE vision of comprehensive security that included human rights, economic and environmental issues, she said empowering people was essential to shaping long-term responses to multidimensional security threats.  On non-proliferation, she commended OSCE leadership in preventing the spread of illicit small arms and light weapons.  On Afghanistan, she endorsed efforts towards that country’s long-term security, including regional confidence-building measures through the Heart of Asia initiative.  Australia also supported OSCE counter-terrorism projects, a partnership it sought to enhance.

MASOOD KHAN ( Pakistan) said that the OSCE’s best practices in early warning, conflict prevention and crisis management were being emulated by other regional organizations.  The three dimensions of its work provided the best tools for a comprehensive response to security situations, and Pakistan appreciated the important role that the organization was playing in facilitating various processes aimed at settlement of crises and conflicts in its region.  Those included the Transnistrian settlement process, the Geneva International Discussions on Georgia, and the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs for assisting Azerbaijan and Armenia to find a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

He said that the OSCE’s initiatives on disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control were producing results, and its successes in the economic and environmental dimensions were relevant to South Asia and many other regions.  The human dimension was equally important, and the OSCE’s focus on youth and children was geared towards modern solutions for more developed, more educated and more tolerant societies.  Pakistan also particularly appreciated the activities of the organization in Afghanistan, particularly capacity-building of the Afghan National Police, combating drug trafficking, and customs and border management.  As the international security forces prepared to withdraw by 2014, OSCE’s continued engagement with that country would have a positive impact on the four transitions under way there:  security; reconciliation; electoral; and economic.

SYLVIE LUCAS ( Luxembourg) agreed that the OSCE had a unique place among regional organizations cooperating with the United Nations under Chapter VIII of its Charter.  As a member of the organization, Luxembourg fully subscribed to the ambitions of the Ukrainian Chair.  The Helsinki+40 process should make it possible to achieve the organization’s ambitious vision, articulated around a focus on security.  Luxembourg was particularly attached to the human dimension, which should hold a priority place within the OSCE, and it felt that work on freedom of expression and freedom of the media, including digital media, was crucial.

The United Nations and the OSCE were based on shared values, she said.  Luxembourg was pleased at the memorandum of understanding signed between it and the United Nation Office of Disarmament Affairs to staunch the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and saluted efforts to fight transnational organized crime, including human trafficking.  The OSCE also played a major role in Afghanistan, the Balkans, Eastern Europe, Transnistria and the South Caucuses.  As announced in Dublin last December, Luxembourg intended to support United Nations’ efforts in the area of small arms and light weapons, and planned to organize several events on that issue in September.

MARTIN BRIENS ( France) said the United Nations and the OSCE had a shared objective of deepening dialogue among States to better guarantee security.  Dialogue had become a sine qua non for the maintenance of international peace and security, and Chapter VIII of the United Nations was a framework that had withstood the test of time.  From Central Asia to Bosnia, Georgia and Kosovo, the OSCE and the United Nations had shown their ability to work well together.  But in Vienna, there was a “worrisome trend” of States turning back on their commitments, and he expected the Chair to advance work under the OSCE’s three pillars.

Also, the Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights must continue to be independent and play its role in elections monitoring, he said, voicing support for the Helsinki +40 process. The OSCE had helped to end ethnic violence in Kyrgyzstan and stabilize borders in Afghanistan. It cooperated with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) — “a good example of successful cooperation between the OSCE and the UN”, he said, underlining its commitment to help Armenia and Azerbaijan find a solution to the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh.  Regarding the situation in Georgia, France fully supported the Geneva discussions.

ROSEMARY DICARLO ( United States) commended OSCE efforts to revitalize existing negotiation processes and support human rights education.  The Council and OSCE had common interests in mitigating future security threats, and the United States was committed to working with the OSCE and its partner States to further the OSCE comprehensive approach to security.  OSCE fostered peace through its field missions, Special Representatives and promotion of military transparency.

In Kosovo, the complementarity of the OSCE and the United Nations was evident, she said, urging the organization to support the 19 April agreement between Serbia and Kosovo.  In the Republic of Moldova, she welcomed the “5+2 talks” towards the settlement of the Transnistria issue.  She also appreciated OSCE efforts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, and supported its work to address human rights issues in Georgia.  Commending its efforts to share its expertise, she expressed appreciation for the OSCE’s support for combating drug trafficking and promoting development in Afghanistan.  The OSCE was an important player in protecting human rights, and its establishment of gender focal points was an example of how organizations could effectively implement gender mainstreaming.

KIM SOOK ( Republic of Korea) said that contemporary global security challenges showed the importance of partnership between regional organizations and the United Nations.  The OSCE’s expertise and experience in overcoming the effects of the cold war had enabled it to become a more reliable partner of the Security Council.  His delegation welcomed its increased focus on non-proliferation.  The OSCE was playing an active role in implementing Security Council resolution 1540 (2004); as Chair of the 1540 Committee, he felt that such cooperative efforts were crucial and he planned to exchange views with the Committee’s membership on that matter shortly.

Also welcome were efforts to resolve the protracted conflicts in the region, he said.  While the Security Council bore the primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security, the OSCE could complement and reinforce its work.  He applauded the organization for its firm commitment to countering transnational threats, including those stemming from cyberspace.  In that regard, he said that a Seoul Conference on Cyberspace would be held later this year.  Lastly, he stressed that the Helsinki process held special significance in parts of the world, such as North-East Asia, where cooperation on security remained at a nascent stage.  Against that backdrop, the Republic of Korea hoped to establish the “Seoul Process”, through which countries of the region would extend their cooperation on non-political issues based on trust.

GERT ROSENTHAL ( Guatemala) said regional and subregional organizations could contribute to further strengthen the multilateral system, including by helping to maintain international peace and security.  Cooperation between the United Nations and the OSCE was a concrete example of an alliance that had promoted peace and security in Eastern Europe, the Caucuses and Central Asia.  He further highlighted the OSCE’s work in several specific areas coinciding with the Council’s agenda.

In Afghanistan, he pointed out, the OSCE worked to increase national capacity, support the democratic process and enhance security.  In that vein, he noted the close cooperation between the OSCE and United Nations Assistance Mission in that country, known as UNAMA.  In Kosovo, the OSCE played a crucial role, and cooperated closely with the United Nations and the European Union.  He welcomed efforts to strengthen the rule of law, as well as the recent agreement signed between Pristina and Belgrade.  Finally, he noted the priorities that Ukraine had set for its Chairmanship, and welcomed the focus on rule of law and human rights.

MATEO ESTREME ( Argentina) appreciated the OSCE’s work in the areas of early warning conflict prevention and crisis management, saying that its cooperation with the United Nations had allowed for a more coordinated focus among stakeholders, including between the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and the OSCE.  He underlined the OSCE’s close cooperation with the Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy in Central Asia, applauding its emphasis on the settlement of protracted conflicts, including in Transnistria, and expressing hope the next meeting in Odessa would foster a political process towards a lasting solution.  He also supported the Geneva discussions for resolving issues in Georgia, as well as Minsk Group efforts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh issue.  Argentina would support Ukraine’s efforts to lead the OSCE, trusting that it would endeavour further to cooperate with the United Nations.

PHILIP PARHAM ( United Kingdom) said the OSCE was a crucial forum for dialogue on security, offering a platform for holding States to account for their commitments.  He supported Ukraine’s work programme across the three pillars, especially the emphasis on protracted conflicts.  He also supported its work to advance arms control discussions.  The promotion and protection of human rights, democracy and the rule of law were central to the OSCE’s comprehensive concept of security, but there were gaps in commitments by cooperating States.  OSCE field operations were important for helping their hosts meet their commitments, he noted.

As a key player in Transnistria, Ukraine was well placed to advance those talks, he said, also supporting OSCE efforts to engage with the Minsk Group on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue.  The OSCE arms control framework had many important elements that should be comprehensively implemented and modernized; the status quo was unstable.  OSCE participating States had added value to its human dimension pillar, but it was disappointing commitments lagged in that area.  He asked about the prospects for progress in Kyiv in December, as well as opportunities for complementary work between the OSCE and the United Nations.

MOHAMMED LOULICHKI ( Morocco) said that his delegation attached great importance to the role of regional and subregional organizations, as well as their cooperation with the United Nations.  As an active member of the Group of Friends of Mediation, Morocco welcomed the development of an OSCE tool for mediation, as well as efforts to find lasting solutions to protracted conflicts in the OSCE area.  In particular, the delegation supported efforts to find a solution to the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, and reiterated the appeal of the Co-Chairs of the OSCE’s Minsk Group for dialogue.  Morocco was convinced that the United Nations could draw upon the experience and capacities of the OSCE including in weapons control and countering transnational threats, and reiterated that the multidimensional nature of those threats required a concerted international response.

He said that Morocco was one of the Mediterranean partners of the OSCE, and it participated, in particular, in efforts to combat terrorism, fight human trafficking and foster development.  It had appealed to the OSCE to review the statute of cooperation with Mediterranean partners, in favour of a more participatory approach.  Morocco had put forward a text on the form and content of that partnership, calling on the OSCE to make the partnership more substantive and based on an updated agenda.  Finally, he reiterated the appeal to strengthen cooperation between the OSCE and the Alliance of Civilizations.

EUGÈNE-RICHARD GASANA ( Rwanda) commended the comprehensive approach of the OSCE, which strove to maintain international peace and security, while fostering economies and development based on the use of sustainable resources, human rights and fundamental freedoms.  Rwanda commended the organization’s work on mediation and election monitoring, as well as in promoting the rule of law in Kosovo.  It welcomed the efforts of the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and shared the belief that only a negotiated settlement in line with the resolutions of the Security Council and in full respect for international law would bring a lasting solution.  Past and current experiences had shown that strengthened cooperation between the United Nations and key regional actors could help to strengthen international peace and security, he concluded.

TOFIG MUSAYEV ( Azerbaijan) underlined the importance of reinvigorating ongoing conflict-settlement efforts, expressing hope that a decision on the “ Helsinki+40” process would help achieve tangible outcomes.  The OSCE was a forum for discussing settlement of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.  The Council had adopted four resolutions condemning the use of force against Azerbaijan, confirming that Nagorno-Karabakh was part of his country and demanding the withdrawal of occupation forces.  They referred to violations of international humanitarian law, including the displacement of civilians, and served as the most binding rulings on the problem.  They acknowledged that acts of military force had been committed against Azerbaijan, which violated international law.

But mediation efforts in the OSCE framework over 20 years had yet to yield results, he said, stressing that attempts to downplay the resolutions represented an open challenge to the conflict settlement process.  Consistent measures had been taken in the occupied territories to maintain the status quo and prevent the return of internally displaced persons.  In 2005 and 2010, OSCE had led fact-finding and fact-assessment missions, both of which documented illegal activities, but their recommendations remained on paper.  The latest report on the transfer of Syrian Armenians into the occupied territories of Azerbaijan offered evidence of Armenia’s colonization of Azerbaijan lands.

He hoped the OSCE Chair would insist on the need to seize all actions that obstructed prospects for an international law-based settlement, stressing that Azerbaijan would never compromise its territorial integrity or the rights of its citizens.  Conflict resolution efforts must ensure that peace and justice worked together.  Peace agreements must never encourage the acceptance of situations initiated by an unlawful use of force.  The OSCE’s mandate and performance must be assessed, in particular, in the context of conflict resolution and post-conflict rehabilitation.  He urged focus on an OSCE role in multinational peacekeeping operations, adding that its interaction with military and security arrangements must be considered in the context of indivisibility.

SHEN BO ( China) said the OSCE had made a positive contribution to preventive diplomacy, mediating regional disputes and combating cross-border crimes, and he urged it to continue to play a constructive role in addressing international peace and security challenges.  Recalling that the Security Council bore the primary responsibility in such work, he said regional and subregional organizations were uniquely placed to support it.  Such collaboration with the Council would provide a useful complement.  Indeed, the OSCE was an important partner and China supported the Council’s cooperation with it in a manner that was more results-oriented and effective.

Council President KODJO MENAN (Togo), making a statement in his national capacity, said that joint responses from the United Nations and regional organizations could prevent, and sustainably resolve, protracted conflicts.  Togo was pleased with the OSCE’s creation of a “security community” through lasting dialogue based on the vision of international peace and security.  Indeed, cross-cutting activities in Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina had allowed for the establishment of institutions to prevent future conflicts, the strengthening of their Governments and support for multi-ethnic societies.  In order to avoid duplication, however, the United Nations and OSCE should fortify cooperation by drawing upon their own assets.  For example, the well-known expertise of the OSCE in electoral processes and combating terrorism — all challenges confronting Africa — could prove useful.

Further, he said his country was pleased that the current Chairmanship was highlighting the importance of cooperation.  “No State, no institution — no matter how strong they may be — can tackle threats to international peace and security alone,” he said.  His delegation was also pleased with the announcement of a new round of “5+2” negotiations in the Transnistrian settlement process, and encouraged the parties to take a more active role in order to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution.  Hopefully, Ukraine would succeed in bringing together the parties in Nagorno-Karabakh, South Ossetia and in other protracted conflicts.  Going forward, the organization would need to tackle a certain lack of interest by some Members of the United Nations who no longer saw a use for it; he recalled the differences of opinion that had delayed the adoption of a Unified Budget for 2013.

Briefly addressing several questions raised by the representative of the United Kingdom, Mr. KOZHARA said that, due to time constraints, answers to those questions would be passed to the Mission in written form.

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