VIENNA / KYIV, 29 April 2020 – Steps need to be taken to rebuild trust and stability in the OSCE region, and to restore full and genuine implementation of our principles and commitments on politico-military security, said Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba as he opened Ukraine’s Chairmanship of the OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation (FSC) today.
Addressing representatives of the OSCE participating States from Kyiv via video teleconference, Foreign Minister Kuleba said that: “The OSCE remains an essential platform of co-operation and dialogue. The unique concept of OSCE comprehensive approach to security is relevant as never before. Especially now, when our societies face unprecedented hybrid threats, restrictions, economic crisis and profound changes to everyday life.”
“We witness an unprecedented scale of volatility, mistrust and unpredictability in the OSCE region. This situation is marked by deliberate and flagrant disregard of our shared principles and commitments, from Helsinki, Paris and onwards.” Pointing to the ongoing relevance of the FSC, he said: “We are in need of genuine and practical dialogue. As our past shows, when political will is in place, such dialogue can bring tangible results.”
He stressed that Ukraine will lead the FSC amid ongoing conflicts in the OSCE region and the global coronavirus pandemic.
“Six years ago, the OSCE participating States found the courage to send hundreds of their citizens to the conflict zone, as international civilian observers, to work in a very dangerous and unpredictable security environment,” said Minister Kuleba referring to the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM).
Remembering US paramedic Joseph Stone, who lost his life while serving with the SMM three years ago, the Foreign Minister said that: “We continue to value the contribution of all civilian monitors working in the conflict-affected area. We are convinced that the politico-military aspects of this conflict should remain in the spotlight of the Forum.”
Moving to Ukraine’s priorities for its Chairmanship, which will last until the end of August, he said it will focus on a “well-balanced and forward-looking agenda.”
The meetings will cover security challenges in the Black and Azov Sea regions; the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the work of the armed forces and on the implementation of confidence- and security-building measures (CSBMs); hybrid threats “and their possible interconnection with modern warfare”; and the activities and regulation of private military companies.
Describing the OSCE Vienna Document on CSBMs as “one of the pillars of the European security architecture”, Minister Kuleba said raising momentum towards its modernization will be a focus, particularly in light of the increasing “military snap exercises, especially those taking place near the borders.”
There will also be an emphasis on the issues of small arms and light weapons, and stockpiles of conventional ammunition. Of particular focus will be the OSCE’s role in addressing the negative humanitarian and socio-economic impacts of landmines and explosive remnants of war, he said.
Together with Albania’s OSCE Chairmanship, Ukraine’s FSC Chair will commemorate 20 years of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.
The FSC Chair will also build on the Commemorative Declaration, adopted at last year’s Ministerial Council, to mark 25 years of the OSCE Principles Governing Non-Proliferation and the 15th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1540. The FSC Chair will focus on how OSCE participating States can take an active role in the forthcoming Comprehensive Review of Resolution 1540 on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Ukraine will also contribute to the conduct of the Annual Discussion on the Implementation of the Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security and the OSCE Annual Security Review Conference over the course of its FSC Chairmanship, he said.
In line with restrictions introduced by the OSCE and the Austrian host authorities to prevent the spread of COVID-19, meetings of the FSC are being held online. Minister Kuleba thanked the OSCE Secretariat and Albania’s OSCE Chairmanship for helping to facilitate this.
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