I am pleased to send greetings to all participants at this OSCE Annual Review Conference. I commend OSCE Chairman-in-Office, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, for his leadership.
Europe is facing broad, severe and intertwined challenges. Its economy is emerging unevenly from a decade of economic turbulence. The arrival of refugees and migrants is causing strains, especially politically.
Conflicts are also destabilizing the OSCE area. The situation in eastern Ukraine remains serious. The Minsk Agreements must be implemented without delay. The United Nations will continue to support, if and as requested, the OSCE’s capacities to fulfil its important mandates to peacefully resolve the conflict in Ukraine.
There is potential for further instability from protracted conflicts across the continent. One stark reminder was the upsurge in violence earlier this year along the Line of Contact in Nagorno-Karabakh and along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.
We must also ensure that we preserve all gains made in the decades following conflict in the Western Balkans.
I am concerned about the re-emergence of nationalism, xenophobia and isolationist political parties. I am also deeply worried about the rise in polarization and short-term national thinking over long-term global solutions.
Now is the time to enhance the invaluable cooperation between the OSCE and the United Nations. Our efforts in the area of preventive diplomacy are a model for others. On the ground, we work together from Europe to Central Asia. The UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia has proven its value in supporting the countries of the region in addressing violent extremism and other cross-border threats.
I welcome the call by the OSCE Chair-in-Office for “renewing dialogue, rebuilding trust and restoring security.”
As we work to pursue these goals, we need to devise joint strategies according to our respective strengths.
There are naturally differences in approach. Our memberships overlap but are not the same. Resources and capacities vary. Negotiation strategies may prioritize different objectives.
The close strategic dialogue between the UN and the OSCE is set up to harness our respective strengths when we work together. Now, we are reinforcing the UN’s capacities in Vienna to work with the OSCE on peace and security. I deeply appreciate the support of the Chairmanship-in-Office in this effort.
As you squarely confront the prevailing realities with a view to bolstering our collective ability to prevent and resolve conflict, I assure you of the UN’s commitment to continue supporting the OSCE and its confidence in our strong partnership.