Unity of purpose needed to end war in Ukraine, participants say at OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Autumn Meeting

241122 AM photo Margareta Cederfelt, Zbigniew Rau and Tomasz Grodzki in Warsaw, 24 November 2022WARSAW, 24 November 2022 – The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s 20th Autumn Meeting opened today in Warsaw with strong statements of support for the people of Ukraine and calls for “unity of purpose” among OSCE countries to bring the Russian Federation’s war to an end. The war has called into question the OSCE’s effectiveness, it was stressed, and the future of the organization depends on upholding the commitments that all OSCE participating States have agreed upon. Only then will it be possible to utilize the potential of the OSCE, speakers said.

The opening session included speeches by Marshal of the Sejm Elzbieta Witek, Marshal of the Senate Tomasz Grodzki, OSCE Chairman-in-Office and Foreign Minister of Poland Zbigniew Rau, OSCE PA President Margareta Cederfelt, and a video address by Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskiy.

In his remarks, Zelenskiy urged politicians to intensify pressure to stop the Russian invasion before it results in even more devastation for his country. Russia is daily bombarding Ukraine with missiles, Zelenskiy pointed out, asking how the OSCE’s credibility and validity can be upheld when one of its participating States attacks another. The Ukrainian president called for the full use of OSCE procedures and tools to achieve peaceful settlement of disputes and ensure that the principle of “might makes right” does not prevail.

Speeches by the Polish host officials emphasized the unparalleled international solidarity on display since the Russian Federation invaded Ukraine nine months ago, stressing that Poland stands steadfastly together with its neighbour. Hosting more than one million Ukrainian refugees and providing crucial financial, diplomatic and material support to the Kyiv government, Poland will continue to do what it takes, they said, to ensure the defence of Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.

241122 AM photo 2Marshal of the Sejm Elzbieta Witek addresses the OSCE PA Autumn Meeting, Warsaw, 24 November 2022Marshal Witek said that when Russia attacked Ukraine on 24 February of this year, it trampled all the values to which it has agreed as an OSCE participating State. She urged all OSCE parliamentarians to do what they can to support Ukraine and to pursue concrete solutions. Parliamentary diplomacy, she noted, is finally coming to the fore, emphasizing that parliamentarians are accountable to the people and have a duty to use any format they can to pursue peace.

Marshal Grodski stated that Ukraine is fighting a war in defence of the values for which the OSCE was established, and urged a strong response to these values being trampled. All OSCE participating States, he underlined, must strive for a just peace and support the struggle of the Ukrainian people. Grodski said: “Everyone who has seen Bucha, who has seen burnt houses in the cities and villages of Ukraine, who observes the devastating effects of the war on the world economy, everyone who sees the famine caused by the blockade of Ukrainian grain deliveries must ask – have we failed? To some extent, yes.”

OSCE PA President Margareta Cederfelt (Sweden) stressed the role of parliamentarians in ensuring that Ukrainians are able live in peace and enjoy life without fear, highlighting the need to maintain strong solidarity and provide support to Ukraine’s security and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, as well as providing assistance those who have sought refuge in other countries. She reiterated, however, that the responsibility is on Russia to restore peace and insisted that Moscow must be held accountable for its actions. “Russia started this war of aggression,” Cederfelt said. “It must be convinced – one way or another – that it must put an end to it and vacate the Ukrainian territory that it occupies.”

“In the OSCE’s history we have not experienced an equally fundamental crisis as the current war in Ukraine started by Russia,” said OSCE Chairman-in-Office Rau. “I continue to believe in our partnership, and to believe in the power of our collective effort. Through co-operation I know we can confront, and together tackle, the threats we face. Together we can undo some of the harm done, together we can return to progress, and to peace.”

The Autumn Meeting continues today and tomorrow with sessions focused on the war’s impact on the OSCE, including lessons learned to safeguard the Organization’s toolbox and comparative advantage, as well as the need to promote economic and environmental security and protect fundamental rights amid the current crisis.

The meeting will include interventions by Polish officials and OSCE representatives, as well as guests from other organizations, including former United Nations Crisis Coordinator for Ukraine, Amin Awad, and Joanna Maćkowiak-Pandera, representing Forum Energii.

The closing session on Thursday will feature remarks from OSCE PA Secretary General Roberto Montella, Head of the OSCE PA’s Polish Delegation Barbara Bartus, and President Cederfelt.

Video of the Autumn Meeting, as well as a full programme, is available here.

Photos can be found on the OSCE PA’s Flickr page and on the Sejm’s website.



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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