High-level speeches, debate on Middle East conclude OSCE PA Annual Session in Bucharest as President Pia Kauma is re-elected



030724 pia kaumaOSCE PA President Pia Kauma in Bucharest, 3 July 2024. Photo: AGERPRES / CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES OF ROMANIABUCHAREST, 3 July 2024 – In addition to adopting the Bucharest Declaration, OSCE parliamentarians meeting in the Romanian capital today re-elected President Pia Kauma (Finland) to a second one-year term. Luis Graca (Portugal), Richard Hudson (United States) and Gudrun Kugler (Austria) were elected as new Vice-Presidents of the Assembly.

Speaking at the close of the Annual Session, President Kauma highlighted the need for deeper and more meaningful co-operation, stressing that by working together, OSCE parliamentarians are stronger and can more effectively address common challenges. Also speaking at the closing plenary session today were Romanian Foreign Minister Luminiţa-Teodora Odobescu and OSCE Chair-in-Office and Foreign Minister of Malta Ian Borg.

Foreign Minister Odobescu stressed the importance of abiding by international commitments, particularly those related to non-aggression and respect for sovereignty. “Russia’s ongoing unprovoked, unjustified and illegal war of aggression against Ukraine, with Belarus’s complicity, is a threat to European and global security and stability, and an enormous human tragedy. The OSCE, both at its executive as well as parliamentary level, observes international law and the principles and commitments we undertook in Helsinki in 1975 and reconfirmed in Paris in 1990,” Odobescu said.

030724 FM romaniaForeign Minister Luminiţa-Teodora Odobescu addresses the Assembly, 3 July 2024She added that Romania “welcomes the principled position of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President, of the Maltese OSCE CiO and of the Secretary General regarding Russia’s war of aggression and the contribution of the organization to addressing the multiple consequences of this war.”

Reflecting on the strong co-operation that Malta’s OSCE Chairpersonship has enjoyed with the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly over the past half-year, Chair-in-Office Minister Ian Borg expressed gratitude for the exchanges and synergies that have been cultivated. “You are the democratic backbone of the OSCE, and I am grateful for your work and active engagement. The human, economic and environmental dimensions of security are the bread and butter of our shared political and parliamentary vocation. We count on your voices, and the democratic legitimacy they bring, as we work to make the OSCE more resilient and efficient,” stated Minister Borg.

Meeting in plenary session yesterday, OSCE parliamentarians held a special debate on the situation in the Middle East, offering a wide array of views on the subject. Opening the discussion, a parliamentarian from Israel spoke about the horrors of the 7 October 2023 attacks on Israel and the imperative of defeating the threat posed by radical Islam, which he stressed is essential for promoting global security. (To watch the debate, please click here.)

Some 30 OSCE parliamentarians engaged in the lively debate to offer their views on the Israel-Gaza conflict. Many members highlighted the importance of proportionality, limiting the humanitarian impact of the war, abiding by international law, and bringing the conflict to an end. The plight of innocent civilians caught up in the war was repeatedly raised by parliamentarians. Numerous members also highlighted the need to stand together against Hamas’s aggression and warned of rising anti-Semitism in the OSCE area. The plight of the Israeli hostages still held by Hamas was highlighted, with parliamentarians calling for their immediate release.

Also yesterday, the OSCE PA’s general committees elected their leadership for the coming year.

In the Committee on Political Affairs and Security, Birgir Thórarinsson (Iceland) was elected Chair, Costel Neculai Dunava (Romania) was re-elected Vice-Chair, and Tobias Winkler (Germany) was re-elected Rapporteur.

The Committee on Economic Affairs, Science, Technology and Environment re-elected Chair Azay Guliyev (Azerbaijan) and Vice-Chair Artur Gerasymov (Ukraine), and elected Paula Cardoso (Portugal) as the new Rapporteur.

The Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions re-elected Chair Lucie Potuckova (Czechia) and Vice-Chair Sargis Khandanyan (Armenia), and elected Carina Odebrink (Sweden) as the new Rapporteur.

030724 dan barna plenaryPia Kauma, Dan Barna and Roberto Montella in Bucharest, 3 July 2024. Photo: AGERPRES / CHAMBER OF DEPUTIES OF ROMANIAOn 29 June, the Assembly’s Standing Committee met and re-elected OSCE PA Secretary General Roberto Montella for a third five-year term. His new mandate begins on 1 January 2026 and ends 31 December 2030.

Montella addressed the parliamentarians this morning, stressing that the multitude of challenges facing the OSCE region means that the work of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly is more important than ever. “As our populations feel more and more insecurity in their daily lives, the need for parliamentarians to help tackle the major international questions only increases,” Montella said. “Whether the insecurity is a result of war, as in Russia’s attack on Ukraine, or climate change, or irregular migration, or malicious use of artificial intelligence, our Assembly contributes in substantive ways to international understanding and solutions.”

On the margins of the Annual Session, numerous side events were held, covering topics such as ending antisemitism, fighting human trafficking, addressing the effects of climate change in Central Asia, supporting the displaced people of Ukraine, and combating Russian disinformation campaigns, as well as freedom of expression, economic connectivity, youth participation in the OSCE PA, inter-parliamentary co-operation in South East Europe, terrorism, migration, and gender issues.

Video of the Annual Session is available on the OSCE PA’s YouTube and Facebook channels, and photos of the meeting can be found on Flickr. More information is available here.



Nat Parry

Head of Communications and Press

Office: +45 33 37 80 55
Mobile: +45 60 10 81 77
Email: [email protected]

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