Delivered by Ambassador Ihor Prokopchuk, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the International Organizations in Vienna at the special meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council on 15 January 2015
The delegation of Ukraine warmly welcomes H.E. Mr.Ivica Dačić to the Permanent Council as the Chairperson-in-Office in 2015. We thank you, Minister Dačić, for the comprehensive presentation outlining the priorities of the Serbian Chairmanship and commend your personal commitment to the OSCE.
Today is the national day of mourning in Ukraine over the victims of terrorist attacks. I express gratitude to the Chairman-in-Office for his strong condemnation of the barbaric act of terror in eastern Ukraine two days ago. I also take this opportunity to express condolences to our French colleague and the people of his country in connection with terrorist attacks in France last week. Ukraine feels deep sorrow over tragic events as well as solidarity and unity with France in the struggle against terrorism.
Serbia has assumed the Chairmanship at an extremely complex juncture for Europe and European security. As the OSCE begins the year 2015, we face fundamental challenges to the OSCE's core mandate.
The Helsinki Decalogue principles and commitments of the Organization that have formed the basis for security, stability and cooperation in our area, have been grossly violated by the Russian Federation, which illegally occupied and annexed Ukraine’s Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol and resorted to direct military operations in the east of Ukraine.
Russian aggression against Ukraine, which constitutes a grave crime under international law, requires a continuous resolute response of the entire international community.
We welcome the fact that one of the top priorities of the Serbian Chairmanship in 2015 is to maintain a strong focus on the de-escalation of the situation in and around Ukraine, stemming from the Russian aggression. We trust, Mr.Minister, that you will do your utmost to safeguard the core of the organization – its principles and commitments - during your Chairmanship.
Our views concur that the current crisis in and around Ukraine should be resolved peacefully based on the Helsinki principles of respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. The Minsk agreements in their entirety must remain the roadmap for peaceful resolution in Donbas. It remains imperative that the Minsk arrangements be implemented in full by all signatories.
As Ukraine has adhered to the letter and spirit of the Minsk agreements, regrettably Russia has not yet underpinned them with meaningful practical steps from its side, including withdrawal of its military units from Ukraine’s territory, allowing for OSCE monitoring of the border and halting reinforcement of the terrorist groups with Russian weapons and mercenaries.
In the course of the last year we have extensively used different options from the OSCE toolbox to address the crisis in and around Ukraine. In particular, we attach great importance to the work of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine which contributes, within its mandate, to addressing security threats in the east of Ukraine. We also commend the OSCE brokering efforts to facilitate dialogue within the Trilateral Contact Group. We welcome the reappointment by the Serbian Chairmanship of Ambassador Heidi Tagliavini as a Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group.
Unfortunately, the negative developments on the ground make us assess the general effect of the OSCE instruments used in response to the crisis as limited. So far, the Organization has not found an adequate answer on how to secure reversal of illegal actions and prevent further violations. We are strongly convinced that the most effective way for the OSCE to tackle security challenges should be based on a formula: “Commitments cannot be compromised for Consensus”.
It is important to continue to build upon:
1) Strict adherence to the core principles of the Helsinki Final Act and compliance with the norms we have all committed to in the three dimensions of the OSCE;
2) Comprehensive approach to the security, which addresses the human, economic and environmental, political and military dimensions of security as an integral whole;
3) Developing efficient OSCE security mechanisms to effectively prevent conflicts and address the violations of the core principles and commitments.
On a broader Chairmanship’s programme, we are pleased to note that it reflects the approaches and many of the priorities of Ukraine.
We welcome the emphasis on resolution of protracted conflicts which belongs to the core mandate of this Organization. The conflicts are to be resolved peacefully through existing negotiation formats with respect to the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity.
We support the intentions to work on enhancing the OSCE’s politico-military commitments through their full implementation and progress towards revitalising, updating, and modernising the Conventional Arms Control and Confidence and Security Building regimes in Europe. The current security situation reaffirms the high relevance of this endeavour.
Transnational threats continue to constitute a growing threat to all participating States. We welcome the Chairmanship’s determination to devote particular attention this year to the phenomenon of foreign terrorist fighters, as well as violent extremism and radicalization that lead to terrorism, particularly the radicalization of youth.
The delegation of Ukraine will be actively supporting the efforts to address the issues of anti-corruption in the economic and environmental dimension.
We applaud the Chairmanship’s determination to devote additional effort to strengthening implementation of existing human dimension commitments in areas such as freedom of expression and freedom of the media, including safety of journalists, freedoms of assembly and expression, protection of persons belonging to national minorities and tolerance and non-discrimination. We highlight the importance of enhanced cooperation with civil society and youth which contribute to the strengthening of our human dimension commitments. Our work in the third dimension should attach significance to addressing grave human rights violations committed by the occupying authorities in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and in the areas beyond the government control in Donbas in Ukraine.
This year we will mark the 40th anniversary since our predecessors made a critical input in making Europe an area of peace and security by signing the Helsinki Final Act. Following Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, which has severely undermined the very foundation of our Organization, rebuilding trust by restoring respect for the principles of the Helsinki Final Act of 1975 is the most crucial task for the OSCE.
We should stay united in facing the current challenges collectively, with a common purpose and a common determination to uphold the principles and commitments we have all made as participating States of the OSCE, in particular on respect of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of each other, promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Ukraine stands ready to cooperate with the Serbian Chairmanship to strengthen the OSCE capacities and capabilities to effectively respond to the crisis situations and restore respect for the core OSCE principles and commitments.
In conclusion, we wish our Serbian friends every success at the helm of the OSCE and look forward to closely cooperating with the Chairmanship throughout the year.
Thank you, Mr.Chairman.