In address to OSCE Ministerial Council, PA President Muttonen urges strong and effective OSCE through principle-based dialogue

2016 MC address HamburgOSCE PA President Christine Muttonen, alongside OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier, addresses the OSCE Ministerial Council in Hamburg, 8 Dec. 2016HAMBURG, 8 December 2016 – Addressing the foreign ministers of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s 57 participating States and other dignitaries today, Parliamentary Assembly President Christine Muttonen (MP, Austria) said that a strong OSCE is needed to help to improve the security situation across North America, Europe and Central Asia. She stressed that the PA stands ready to do its part working for a more effective organization, noting that OSCE parliamentarians can help mobilize the political will needed for real results.

“Looking around the OSCE region today, it seems there is no end to the number of threats and challenges that we face,” she said. “Conflicts have emerged and been fueled in the OSCE area, and along with them, all of the tragedies of war that we are all too familiar with. We are struggling with developing a common response to the refugee and migrant crisis. At the same time we must continue our efforts to counter violent extremism, to promote arms control, to defend human rights, and even to combat climate change.”

The President pointed out that these challenges are coming at a time of growing mistrust, rising populism and increasing political divides. However, she said, being paralyzed by politics is simply not an option in today’s environment.

“It may at times seem that we are out of options. But we do have a choice: we can either ‘see no evil and hear no evil,’ or we can put our efforts and hopes in the power of multilateral co-operation and joint solutions. This choice means building bridges,” she said.

On behalf of the 323 members of the Parliamentary Assembly, she offered continued co-operation with the OSCE’s governmental side to improve the security situation in the OSCE area.

“The Parliamentary Assembly stands ready to do its part in working for a more effective OSCE,” she said. “Our parliamentarians are a powerful tool of people-to-people diplomacy. All our work is guided by the key principle of enhancing dialogue.”

President Muttonen stressed that as a political assembly unrestrained by the OSCE’s consensus decision-making process, the PA can speak out and act quickly and clearly. “This we have shown by our quick ‘on-the-ground’ response soon after the attempted coup in Turkey, but also by our work in promoting a common European-wide response to the migration crisis, as well as by pursuing dialogue and mediation in response to the crisis in and around Ukraine,” she said.

The President also highlighted the work of the OSCE field operations. It is a matter of concern, she said, that some of these offices are facing pressure from their host countries, including the threat of closure.

“If our Organization is to remain functional, useful and visible in the years to come, our field missions need more, not less support from us. These offices provide useful tools. Tools that should be utilized. More – not less – OSCE involvement is needed today to reinforce security and co-operation in our region,” she said.

The President pointed out that as an Austrian she looks forward to working with the OSCE’s governmental side, headquartered in Vienna, as well as with the incoming Austrian Chairmanship of the OSCE. Thanking German Foreign Minister and outgoing OSCE Chairman-in-Office Frank-Walter Steinmeier for his efforts over the past year to renew dialogue, rebuild trust and restore security, Muttonen said that the strong commitment of the German Chairmanship has brought us closer to desired results.

President Muttonen continues her work in Hamburg today with bilateral meetings scheduled with the foreign ministers of the Russian Federation, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, Georgia, and Ukraine. The OSCE PA delegation at the Ministerial Council includes some 20 members of parliament.

For her full remarks, please click here.

Photos of the OSCE PA’s participation in the Hamburg Ministerial Council are on the PA’s Flickr page.



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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