Hamburg, Germany

08 December 2016

Secretary-General's message to the 23rd Ministerial Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)

[Delivered by Mr. Petko Draganov, Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia]

I am pleased to send greetings to the Ministerial Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.  I deeply appreciate your support for United Nations efforts to preserve peace, tackle climate change and promote sustainable development.
 
I thank the Government of Germany for hosting this meeting and for its leadership of the OSCE over the past year under the guidance of Foreign Minister Steinmeier.  I also thank Germany for advancing the partnership between the United Nations and the OSCE, including through the establishment of the United Nations Liaison Office on Peace and Security in Vienna.  Such regional partnerships, foreseen by the drafters of Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter, are essential for addressing today’s complex challenges, including violent conflict, mass displacement, violent extremism and the peaceful resolution of disputes.  
 
In challenging times for Europe and Eurasia, the OSCE’s conflict resolution and confidence-building mechanisms provide a much-needed tool for promoting long-term stability and sustainable development.  The dangers of renewed conflicts in the South Caucasus and other areas emphasize the need to maintain a focus on finding lasting peaceful solutions that are acceptable to all parties.  The United Nations stands ready to further deepen its cooperation with the OSCE and its participating States to these ends.
 
In Ukraine, the OSCE and its missions remain vital to preserving a path to peace and security.  A peaceful solution, ensuring the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, is the key for citizens to craft their political, economic, and social future..  The United Nations will remain steadfast in its support to the people of Ukraine and the OSCE’s efforts to promote peace and security.
 
To fulfil the promise of the Helsinki Final Act, the OSCE depends on the political will of its membership to find compromise.  The 57 leaders assembled in this forum hold the key to peace and stability in Europe and Eurasia.  I call on you all to continue to seek solutions to the formidable challenges of our time, to defend the norms agreed in San Francisco and Helsinki, and to invest in the institutions that support dialogue and collective solutions. 
 
As I pass the baton to Secretary-General-designate Mr. António Guterres, and as Austria assumes the leadership of the OSCE, I trust that our partnership will continue to flourish and produce tangible results for the people we all serve.