Security Council Briefing: OSCE Chairperson-in-Office

Statement by Karel J.G. van Oosterom,
Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations in New York.

New York, 8 March 2018

First let me pay tribute to Minister Alfano for his briefing today in his capacity as Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE.

It is a privilege to see him back in this Council during the second year of our split term. The cooperation between Italy and the Kingdom of the Netherlands during our split term 2017-18 on the Security Council, is a great example of European cooperation and political leadership.

I will focus on three points:

  1. The OSCE as a regional security organization;
  2. The OSCE as an organization for dialogue;
  3. The situation in Ukraine.

The OSCE as a regional security organization

My first point, the OSCE as a crucial regional organization. The OSCE complements the work of the UN Security Council, based on Chapter VIII of the UN Charter. The OSCE plays a central role in early warning, conflict prevention and resolution in the region. It also plays a crucial role in the quest for peaceful settlements to the protracted conflicts on the territory of Georgia, Moldova and Azerbaijan. They must be resolved in accordance with international laws and OSCE commitments.

The OSCE as an organization for dialogue

My second point, the OSCE as an organization for dialogue. The OSCE offers to its 57 participating states an unique platform to promote peaceful resolutions to conflicts in Europe, based on commonly agreed principles. By its comprehensive security approach,  the organisation is able to deal with all dimensions of security: politico-military, economic and environmental, and the human dimension.

The OSCE field offices and independent institutions play an important role in this regard. Let me highlight them: the High Commissioner for National Minorities, the Rapporteur on Freedom of the Media, and the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. Thus, the OSCE provides space for dialogue within all three dimensions and does so in an inclusive manner.

The situation in Ukraine

This brings me to my third point, the situation in the East of Ukraine. The ongoing foreign interference in Ukraine constitutes a serious violation of the founding principles of the OSCE. I reiterate my country’s full commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. The Kingdom of the Netherlands calls upon all parties involved to implement the Minsk Agreements, in full.

This should start with the withdrawal of heavy weapons and a sustainable cease-fire. The OSCE’s role in the Trilateral Contact Group and the Special Monitoring Mission, are crucial for implementation of the Minsk Agreements. It is absolutely necessary that the Special Monitoring Mission is allowed to do its important work without impediments. The monitors must have full, safe and unhindered access to all parts of the conflict area. Any obstruction of the mission’s work or threats to its staff are unacceptable, and must stop immediately.

In the context of Ukraine, the Kingdom of the Netherlands wishes to recall Security Council resolution 2166. This resolution demands that those responsible for the downing of MH-17 be held to account and that all States cooperate fully with efforts to establish accountability. We mourn the victims of the downing of MH-17. Our compassion is with their families and loved ones.

To conclude

On this 8th of March, International Women’s Day, in this context I would particularly like to welcome the words of minister Alfano highlighting the importance of gender equality in line with the 2004 OSCE Action Plan for the Promotion of Gender Equality.

By its active role in initiating the Mediterranean Women Mediators Network, we highly value that Italy will move the OSCE forward in this regard.

Italy as Chairman in Office of the OSCE will successfully build bridges as it did during its time in this Council.

We pay tribute to Italy’s leadership, both at the OSCE as here at the United Nations.

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