OSCE "proved capacity to act in crisis-laden 2014"

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has proven its capacity to act in crises during 2014, Didier Burkhalter has said.

Source: Tanjug
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The Swiss foreign minister and OSCE chairperson-in-office added on Thursday that "further efforts" were needed to strengthen European security.

Burkhalter called on all participating States to redouble efforts at overcoming the crisis of European security and help strengthen the OSCE as an anchor of cooperative security in Europe, the OSCE website said.

The OSCE chief said that security in Europe had deteriorated markedly in 2014 and that the Ukraine crisis had become one of the worst crises in the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian area since the end of the Cold War.

The Ukraine crisis has negatively impacted on security and stability in the OSCE area and beyond and has thrown into question many assumptions about the post-Cold War European order, Burkhalter noted.

“The Helsinki Principles have been repeatedly violated, most blatantly when Crimea was annexed. These developments have run counter to the spirit of mutual respect and co-operation as defined in the Charter of Paris for a New Europe of 1990 and as reflected in many other OSCE documents that have been unanimously adopted since.

“They jeopardize the vision of a free, democratic, common and indivisible Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian security community stretching from Vancouver to Vladivostok and rooted in agreed principles, shared commitments and common goals,” Burkhalter said.

“The deteriorating security situation has also complicated efforts at finding peaceful and sustainable solutions to the protracted conflicts in the OSCE area,” he added.

In this year of crises, the OSCE has demonstrated its value as an inclusive organisation, linking the Euro-Atlantic and the Eurasian regions, and has built bridges and fostered dialogue regarding the Ukraine crisis, thus helping to promote diplomatic solutions, stressed the chairperson-in-office.

“It has become a major operational responder assisting Ukraine in deescalating the crisis and advancing the political process. In addition, irrespective of the tensions among participating States regarding the situation in and around Ukraine, the OSCE has managed to advance cooperative approaches to a series of other security challenges, as demonstrated by the decisions and declarations adopted at the Basel Ministerial Council,” he said.

Burkhalter said the OSCE could and should continue to play a seminal role in overcoming the Ukraine crisis and called on all participating States to provide the OSCE with political support in the future.

In this context, he welcomed today's decisions by the Permanent Council to increase the share of regular OSCE funding in the financing of the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine and to adopt the 2015 budget for the OSCE, the OSCE website said.

Burkhalter also made a case for further strengthening the OSCE's capacity to act given the current security challenges and stressed that Switzerland would continue to be an active and strong supporter of the OSCE in the Troika format and beyond.

He said that the Panel of Eminent Persons on European Security as a Common Project, which had been initiated by the Swiss Chairmanship in close coordination with the subsequent chairmanships of Serbia and Germany, would have its first meeting on the margins of the Munich Security Conference in February 2015.

“The Panel, whose composition will be announced shortly, will help promote an inclusive and constructive security dialogue and rebuild trust across the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian regions and find ways of strengthening implementation of OSCE commitments,” Burkhalter said.

Burkhalter concluded by extending his best wishes to the incoming chairperson-in-office, Serbia's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic, and by assuring Serbia of Switzerland's continued commitment to close cooperation in the framework of the Troika and on the basis of the Swiss-Serbian joint Work Plan for the consecutive Chairmanships of 2014 and 2015.

Serbia will start chairing the OSCE on January 1, and is officially taking over the role at the OSCE Permanent Council meeting on January 15.

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