I am delighted to send greetings to all participants at this 23rd Annual Session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. Today’s discussion on “Helsinki+40: towards human security for all” is a powerful reminder of the need to deliver on the Helsinki Final Act Principles signed four decades ago.
I also commend your decision to hold a special session on Ukraine. The situation there has given rise to serious concern about continuing violence, polarizing rhetoric and clear violations of our common principles. These actions can only increase tensions and make a resolution of the crisis more remote. I urge the parties to do all they can to de-escalate the situation and to work towards a solution through negotiation and dialogue. Toward that end, I am encouraged by President Poroshenko’s recent announcement of a 14-point peace plan to address the crisis in the east.
The bloodshed in Ukraine has to stop – and we cannot allow tensions over the situation there to continue to paralyze international action on deadly conflicts in other areas. I appreciate the OSCE’s leadership in addressing the Ukrainian crisis, including the Parliamentary Assembly’s efforts to facilitate dialogue between parliamentary leaders from the Russian Federation and Ukraine. The United Nations continues to stand ready to support a peaceful solution to the crisis in any way possible.
I also commend your focus on the rise of extremism, radicalism and xenophobia, The protection of human rights is paramount. My recent Rights Up Front initiative is geared towards improving both the UN system’s preventive and response actions to rights violations, which are often the harbingers of deteriorating security conditions and a descent into conflict.
As you confront urgent problems, I encourage you to maintain a focus on building the deeper foundations of peace. The year 2015 is critical; it marks our deadline for concluding a meaningful global climate agreement, achieving the Millennium Development Goals and adopting a new long-term vision for sustainable development.
The Helsinki+40 process holds great potential for synergies with the post-2015 process. The role of parliamentarians in both of these once-in-a-generation opportunities is indispensable. You represent the voice of the people. You can help build consensus within and among societies in support of new policy frameworks. And you will play a key role in transforming the new agenda into reality.
I thank you for your engagement as we join forces to meet the high expectations of world’s people, and wish you great success at this Assembly and beyond.