Statement on behalf of the European Union by H.E. Ivan Počuch at the OSCE Annual Security Review Conference, held on 23 June 2009

PROHLÁŠENÍ JE K DISPOZICI POUZE V ANGLIČTINĚ. Vienna 23 June 2009, Annual Security Review Conference - EU Opening Statement

Madame Chair, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, on behalf of the European Union it is a great honour to address the 7th Annual Security Review Conference.

The EU welcomes H.E. Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergei Lavrov and thanks him for sharing with us the ideas of Russian Federation on the Future of European Security. Our position on the main principles on which this debate should be based has been expressed in February in response to the address by Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Grushko at FSC/PC, and it remains unchanged. We will continue to engage constructively in this debate. In this regard, we believe that the upcoming Informal Ministerial Meeting in Corfu will provide the opportunity for an open and thorough discussion of the topic.

Madame Chair, let me now come to the review of security issues in the OSCE area during the past 12 months.

The European Union considers the Annual Security Review Conference as a useful and valuable event. It provides us with an opportunity to look back and evaluate the security environment in the OSCE area and the implementation of our commitments in the first dimension of the OSCE.

Within the OSCE framework, we have collectively created a unique network of treaties, commitments, decisions, norms and measures on conventional disarmament and arms control as well as on Confidence and Security Building Measures (CSBMs). This network was created to promote security and stability in Europe by increasing trust and transparency among participating States. It constitutes a comprehensive and indispensable acquis for European security, which has served us well and remains relevant. It can be further improved and updated in order to address the threats and challenges of the 21st century and the EU is willing to explore ways to further strengthen this irreplaceable acquis.

The OSCE’s early warning, conflict prevention and resolution tools, crisis management and post conflict assistance mechanisms remain crucial. However, some events during the last twelve months have demonstrated that a lack of political will to apply these tools in a full and efficient manner limits their effectiveness.

The August 2008 armed conflict in Georgia and subsequent developments had a negative effect on the confidence and trust among OSCE participating States and led to a significant destabilization of the region.

The EU reiterates its firm support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders.

We recall the Conclusions of the Presidency of the Extraordinary European Council of 1 September 2008, in which the European Council strongly condemned Russia’s unilateral decision to recognise the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and reiterate our call for full implementation of the 12 August and 8 September 2008 agreements.

The EU remains deeply concerned by the signing of the agreements between Russia and the Georgian separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia on the joint protection of the so called borders and by the subsequent deployment of Russian border-guards.

The EU remains equally concerned about the decision announced by the Russian Federation to build up its military presence in these Georgian regions without the consent of the Government of Georgia. Such initiatives are in contradiction with the spirit of the ceasefire agreements and jeopardise stability and security in the region by further increasing tensions.

The EU remains convinced of the urgent need for a continued cross-dimensional OSCE presence in Georgia, including a meaningful OSCE monitoring capacity able to operate unhindered across the administrative boundary lines, which would contribute to security and stability in the region. We regret that – despite the support of an overwhelming majority of participating States, including the EU Member States – no consensus could be reached on the Greek Chairmanship’s Draft Decision on an OSCE Office in Tbilisi and the deployment of OSCE monitors in the framework of the implementation of the six-point agreement of 12 August 2008.

We would like to use this opportunity and encourage, once again, the Russian Federation to act in a spirit of compromise and reconsider their position in a constructive manner in order to join consensus, for the sake of security and stability in the region.

In this context the EU also recalls its Declaration of 18 June on the termination of the UN Mission in Georgia, in which the EU expressed its regret on Russia’s decision to block agreement in the UN Security Council despite efforts to accommodate the concerns of all parties involved and also regrets the Russian veto on the technical roll-over of the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia to extend the presence of the Mission. Its termination further complicates the already volatile situation in the region and is clearly not in the interest of the civilians in this conflict zone.

The EU condemns the attack on 21 June on an EUMM patrol near the Abkhazian administrative boundary line, in which the Georgian driver of an accompanying vehicle was killed. We are concerned that preliminary findings on this incident indicate this was a deliberate attack. Those responsible must be brought to justice. Incidents of this kind are unacceptable and risk escalating the tensions in the region and show once again the urgent need to fully implement the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism agreed within the framework of the Geneva talks.

The EU reiterates its full support to the efforts of the co-Chairs of the Minsk Group towards a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and commends their continuing endeavours to bridge the remaining differences between the sides. The EU calls once again upon Armenia and Azerbaijan to take the necessary decisions to achieve a breakthrough with the endorsement of the Basic Principles proposed in Madrid on November 29, 2007.

The European Union would like to reiterate the particular importance it attaches to the continuation of the ceasefire monitoring activities in Nagorno Karabakh, at the line of contact and along the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan. In this regard, we regret that the recommendations made at the Ministerial Council meeting in Helsinki by the Co-Chairs of the Minsk Group on CSBMs and the consolidation of the ceasefire have still not had effect on the ground.

The European Union remains firmly determined to seek a settlement of the Transnistrian conflict on the basis of respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Moldova. It calls for the resumption, as soon as possible and without preconditions, of negotiations in the “5+2” format, the only forum capable of guaranteeing the transparency and legitimacy needed for achieving a lasting solution.

The EU actively encourages the parties to the conflict to increase their efforts to achieve progress in their work regarding confidence building measures, in particular in the economic and social areas. In this regard, the EU welcomes initiatives such as the recently concluded seminar on Confidence and Security Building Measures in the military area, co-organized by the OSCE Mission and the Greek chairmanship.

The EU underscores, once again, the importance of conventional arms control in Europe and the CFE Treaty in particular. The CFE regime remains a cornerstone of European security and should be preserved in the future. EU Member States are already strongly engaged in searching for ways out of the current impasse in order to overcome the crisis concerning the CFE Treaty. In this regard, the EU welcomes attempts to overcome the current deadlock as for example the high level expert meeting on the future of conventional arms control which was held in Berlin on 10 June.

The EU again calls on the Russian Federation to immediately resume application of the CFE Treaty and to work with the states concerned to achieve an agreement on the basis of a set of parallel measures to enable us to preserve together the benefits of the CFE regime in a way that contributes to the security of all the OSCE participating States.

The FSC’s security dialogue remains a valuable tool to address European security issues. The EU appreciates the active discussions held in this context during the past 12 months.

The EU considers full, transparent and unconditional implementation of all agreed principles, norms and measures, but equally the promotion of best practices, as the key objectives of the OSCE. We note with appreciation the ongoing work in the Forum for Security Cooperation (FSC) based on the Helsinki Ministerial Council Decision on Small Arms and Light Weapons and Stockpiles of Conventional Ammunition and the Decision on Issues relevant to the Forum for Security Co-operation. Combating the excessive and destabilising accumulation and uncontrolled spread of SALW and conventional ammunition constitutes an important area of work. The OSCE makes a unique contribution to issues relating to the management and security of stockpiles through its standards, best practice guides and project work. The importance attached to the fight against the illegal trafficking of SALW and ammunition has been highlighted in recent work relating to the air transport of SALW and ammunition.

Implementing and strengthening the impressive acquis of Confidence and Security Building Measures remains high on the agenda. The EU considers that the Vienna Document 1999 remains one of the most important of them in the OSCE area, aiming at transparency, openness and trust.

Addressing new threats to our security is also essential. The EU therefore welcomes the organization of the first OSCE Workshop on a Comprehensive OSCE Approach to Enhancing Cyber Security held in Vienna in March this year and looks forward to discussing possible follow-up steps.

The OSCE has become an important player in international counter terrorism efforts. The EU welcomes all the efforts aimed at implementing the existing OSCE counter-terrorism commitments. We welcome the adoption of the Helsinki MC decision on further promoting the OSCE’s action in countering terrorism and the events in 2008 on promoting Public Private Partnership and Preventing Radicalisation and Violent Extremism that lead to Terrorism. We also welcome the report of the Secretary General on OSCE counter terrorism activities. This is an important tool to assess results, set priorities and improve our efficiency in this area.

We particularly support those areas of work where the OSCE can most efficiently provide added-value. During the 2010 Programme Outline discussion the EU has supported activities aimed at: the promotion of international legal anti-terrorism instruments, countering violent extremism and radicalisation that lead to terrorism, the use of internet for terrorist purposes, travel documents security. In this regard, we advocate further and deeper cooperation with the field missions especially in Central Asia within the framework of the OSCE engagement with Afghanistan. We encourage the relevant OSCE executive structures to further improve their cooperation. We strongly reaffirm the importance of respecting Human Rights, fundamental freedoms and the Rule of Law while countering terrorism.

The European Union is committed to supporting the development of modern border management in the OSCE area, including through the introduction of the principles of integrated border management and the promotion of regional cooperation. The European Union supports OSCE`s activities aimed at the implementation of its Border Security and Management Concept. Effective and modern border management is crucial not least for Central Asia, where it can contribute to stabilising the long term security situation for the whole region. The EU therefore welcomes the recent opening of the OSCE Border Management Staff College in Dushanbe as well as the implementation of other OSCE border projects in Central Asia. The EU considers the further implementation of MC Decision 04/07 on OSCE engagement with Afghanistan as important. At the same time we regret that it was not possible to adopt a Decision on further OSCE action on border security and management at the Ministerial Council in Helsinki.

The EU attaches great importance to all OSCE field operations, be they in South Eastern and Eastern Europe, South Caucasus or Central Asia as very important players in the field of the security in the OSCE region. We appreciate their valuable contribution in promoting the OSCE commitments.

In conclusion let me reaffirm what the then Foreign Minister Schwarzenberg said in this room on the very outset of the Czech EU Presidency. The EU and the OSCE share several common aims: securing peace, deepening cooperation among members and if necessary – use of their post-conflict reconstruction tools. The EU seeks to extend close cooperation between the EU and the OSCE, which is making a key contribution towards security, stability and the rule of law in the whole OSCE area and relies on the good will of all participating States to this effect.

The candidate countries CROATIA* and FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA*, the countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate countries ALBANIA, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA and MONTENEGRO, the European Free Trade Association country and member of the European Economic Area ICELAND, as well as UKRAINE align themselves with this statement.


*Croatia and Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

Datum aktualizace: 16.8.2011 15:18

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