Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for invitation to address such a distinguished audience as a representative of Ukrainian Chairmanship in the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
It is my honour to join the Distinguished Speakers Series, established by the Austro-American Society and the Webster University, and share with you the views on the OSCE’s role in the modern security architecture from the perspective of the Ukrainian Chairmanship.
Your interest towards the developments in the Organization is not only simply an encouraging sign for me. It seems natural because it is a matter of a largest regional security organization with 57 participating States stretching from Vancouver to Vladivostok and comprehensive approach to security.
Indeed, wide geographical scope and comprehensive security mandate make the OSCE an unique platform for open dialogue, operating on the basis of consensus and focusing on finding common responses to existing and emerging security threats and challenges.
In recent years OSCE significantly contributed to the dynamic process of transition and transformation in the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian area. Its action to defuse tensions within and between states has been widely acknowledged.
As a result of increased international co-operation and the elimination of the threat of large scale military operations in the OSCE region we enjoy an unprecedented level of security today. However, the emergence of a genuine security community throughout the OSCE area as set forth by the Astana OSCE Summit in 2010 cannot be taken for granted.
The OSCE is acting in a very challenging atmosphere – both internal and external. Different security perceptions within the Organization, emerging crises of different nature continue to contaminate our agenda and affect the level of trust and confidence among the participating States.
This is all happening against the backdrop of the widespread financial and economic crisis and uncertainties regarding the global shifts in the balance of power. Every day we witness threats, but still it often proves is too difficult to come to an agreement on how to best tackle them.
It is important to note in this regard a strong political message, provided by the Astana OSCE Summit two years ago that the Helsinki principles remained relevant despite all the upheavals occurred on the continent. All 57 are linked by common values, despite divergent security perceptions in the OSCE region have still to be overcome.
Common recognition that more needs to be done in order to strengthen trust and confidence is the guidance for OSCE dialogue. It should enable more robust and coordinated responses to common challenges. Being in the mid of Ukraine’s term in office I have become even more convinced that the OSCE is well suited to address the evolving security threats in the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian region. I also believe that we need to continue strengthening the OSCE’s toolbox and improving its coherence.
My confidence derives from already mentioned distinctive features of the OSCE – geographical scope and comprehensive security mandate. They make the OSCE a unique and irreplaceable regional security actor, whose potential needs to be more fully explored. We fully adhere to the idea that lasting and sustainable peace and security can only be achieved by pursuing a balanced approach across all three dimensions – the political and military, the environmental and economic as well as the human dimension – and through dedicated engagement of all participating States and partners. In this unique framework, Ukraine does its utmost to act as a bridge-builder across dividing lines and diverging views.
To address this challenge directly Ukraine has chosen as the overarching theme for its 2013 Chairmanship “promoting trust and confidence within the OSCE area”. We are firmly convinced that the OSCE should continue to play a significant role in promoting the concept of multilateral security, in which no State will strengthen its security at the expense of the security of others.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Indeed, deficit of trust and confidence among the OSCE participating States is widely discussed in different formats both within and outside our Organization. Helsinki+40 process, initiated at the last year’s Ministerial Council in Dublin, seems to be a promising framework for addressing this issue in a practical, not only a theoretical way. It aims at further strengthening our co-operation in the OSCE on the way towards 2015, a year that marks four decades since the signing of the Helsinki Final Act.
To our mind, this anniversary should serve as a catalyst for re-energizing the Organization and bringing us closer to the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian security community. Therefore we have embarked a three-year dialogue, aimed at elaborating and further implementing practical steps towards this aim.
Helsinki +40 process is not the first OSCE endeavour launched to increase its relevance to evolving threats and challenges. Corfu Process, run-up to Astana Summit and V-to-V Dialogue provided us with valuable experience.
We decided to start the Helsinki +40 dialogue from an “orientation debate of strategic nature”. This stage was completed two weeks ago with our informal meeting in a cosy nook of Lower Austria – town of Krems. There was an interesting discussion, being held in an open and frank manner. There was a strong message that more needs to be done to implement existing commitments.
Many say that the Helsinki +40 process constitutes a unique opportunity - according to some the last - for the Organization to fulfill this task and assert its relevance in the evolving security environment. Many see the process as an attempt to strengthen the culture of engagement though re-launching the constructive atmosphere, which has been generated by the Corfu Process and Astana Summit.
Ukrainian Chairmanship will facilitate the Helsinki +40 dialogue focused on overcoming divergences and clarifying the role and goals of the OSCE in the modern security architecture.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As an OSCE Chairmanship Ukraine has set itself ambitious goals with a number of priorities across the three dimensions of security that will require co-ordinated efforts within the Organization, among all participating States, and with our international partners.
Within the Politico-military Dimension, we aim at updating and modernizing the OSCE politico-military instruments and strengthening our work in all elements of the conflict cycle.
Issue of conflicts remains for a long time in the core of its agenda. Ukraine regards the Transdniestrian settlement process as a key priority for its Chairmanship. We have significant background in this issue as a mediator and co-guarantor of the negotiation process. As an OSCE Chair we call for a constructive engagement by all participants of the 5+2 talks to further our work in achieving a lasting political solution of the conflict.
We are convinced that an important tool to achieve this goal is direct dialogue between the political leadership of Chisinau and Tiraspol, which we stand ready to promote and to facilitate. We put particular hopes in this regard on the next round the 5+2 talks to be held in Odesa, Ukraine on 23-24 May.
Ukraine fully supports work within the framework of the Geneva International Discussions aimed at solving pressing security and humanitarian issues in the area of conflict in Georgia. We highly appreciate the input of the UN into this process and welcome the existing level of co-ordination between the three co-chairing organizations.
The Ukrainian Chairmanship also lends its full support to the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs in assisting the parties to find a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
My strong belief is that conventional arms control and confidence – and security building measures constitute an important part of common efforts to strengthen peace and stability in the OSCE area. Ongoing CFE Treaty deadlock deprive us of a significant instrument for building confidence in military matters.
Being a state which chose not to belong to any military alliance Ukraine feels the necessity of finding the way out. Thus we are making efforts aimed at facilitating discussion within the existing OSCE formats on the role they can play in contemporary and future European security architecture. We hope that this discussion will contribute to the consolidation of the political will, required for the resolution of current problems in the functioning of the existing conventional arms control regime in Europe.
As a strong advocate of global regime of non-proliferation, Ukraine together with Poland, Belarus and Kazakhstan introduced the draft of the updated 1994 OSCE Principles Governing Non-Proliferation. The draft takes into account current developments, trends and challenges in the sphere of WMD non-proliferation. This work is expected to be finalized before the Kyiv OSCE Ministerial Council.
We deem necessary to pay a particular attention to the OSCE response to the transnational threats. People throughout the world are equally threatened by terrorism, organized international crime, trafficking in illicit drugs, chemical precursors and human beings. We should provide for a consolidated joint response to these threats, in a consistent manner by applying the relevant international toolbox.
To this end, the Chairmanship focuses on sound implementation of the Ministerial Council decision on “OSCE efforts to address transnational threats” adopted in Dublin in 2012. In this context, the Ukrainian Chairmanship plans to organize an annual OSCE wide-conference on counter-terrorism and on combating illicit drugs.
In the area of cyber security the Ukrainian OSCE Chairmanship continues to promote negotiations on developing a first set of confidence building measures to reduce the risks of conflicts stemming from the use of information and communication technologies. We believe that these measures are most relevant for the interaction among states and intended to enhance international stability and security.
Security, political and economic transitions in Afghanistan as well as withdrawal of international security forces from Afghanistan in 2014 will continue to have security implications for the OSCE area. As the OSCE Chairmanship we proceed with further exploring areas that require enhanced interaction with Afghanistan and improved coordination with relevant international actors, based on their expertise and comparative advantages.
In pursuing of this objective the OSCE Ukrainian Chairmanship exerts every effort to facilitate in-depth discussions on engagement with Afghanistan to elaborate a common perspective on the strategies that need to be pursued to support effective transition in Afghanistan and respond to potential security challenges.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Within the Economic and Environmental Dimension, the core theme of the Ukrainian Chairmanship is increasing stability and security by improving the environmental footprint of energy-related activities. Indeed, we firmly believe that it would hardly be possible to promote comprehensive and lasting security in the OSCE region without properly addressing the existing challenges in the economic and environmental sphere, including energy security. Economic and Environmental Forum to be held in Prague in September will address this issue, paving the way I believe to concrete deliverables at the Kyiv OSCE Ministerial at the end of the year.
Besides, we came out with the initiative to hold a High Level International Conference on energy security under the auspice of the OSCE Chairmanship in Ashgabat in October this year. We count on active engagement of all participating States in implementing this initiative.
Finally, the Ukrainian Chairmanship is convinced that our commitment to the Human Dimension of security is – and should remain – at the core of the concept of comprehensive security.
The fight against trafficking in human beings remains one of the key issues addressed by the OSCE under the Ukrainian Chairmanship. It is a plague that many OSCE countries, including Ukraine, have been suffering from for many years. We need to combine all possible instruments to meet this challenge.
A set of public events has been organised to this end, one of them being the international conference on strengthening of the OSCE response to trafficking in human beings, to be held in Kyiv in June.
Further priorities in this dimension include strengthening freedom of the media. Yesterday I came back from Warsaw where a Human Rights Seminar addressed the topic of best practices for crafting legal frameworks to establish and safeguard free, independent and pluralistic media. It would result in developing relevant recommendations for participating States.
We will also strive to achieve progress in the areas of free movement of people, promotion of tolerance and non-discrimination, freedom of association and assembly, inter-religious dialogue in promoting freedom of religion or belief, as well as democratic elections and election observation.
Finally, we attach particular attention to the promotion of tolerance and non-discrimination through youth education and plan to host this summer the OSCE Youth Summit in Crimea, Ukraine. This event is aimed at engaging youth representatives from all OSCE participating States, raising their awareness of current security issues and challenges, as well as promoting principles of tolerance and non-discrimination.
We are now about halfway to Ukrainian capital but the most intensive part of the road is still ahead. There are big challenges and threats waiting for proper response. In case of the OSCE “proper” means “common”. Common vision, common goals and common actions. That is the topic of my today’s presentation. That is what the OSCE needs to move towards security community. That is what our region needs to ensure peace and harmony as cornerstones of our regional security.
Thank you for your attention.
Vienna, 14 May 2013, Distinguished Speakers Series