Greater political support needed to strengthen OSCE and meet current challenges, PA President says at Ministerial Council opening

GT address to MC 2020George Tsereteli addresses the Ministerial Council meeting, 3 December 2020COPENHAGEN, 3 December 2020 – Thirty years after the signing of the Charter of Paris for a New Europe, despite the OSCE’s notable contributions to strengthening security and promoting stability, the level of distrust is probably higher than it has ever been since the fall of the Iron Curtain, OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President George Tsereteli said at the opening of the 27th Ministerial Council today. To counter this trend, the PA President urged the Foreign Ministers to increase the level of political interest in the organization and focus on implementation of OSCE commitments.

Highlighting the PA’s initiative launched this week, a “Call for Action: Reaffirming our Common Purpose,” which has been endorsed by more than 50 former and present OSCE leaders, President Tsereteli stressed that the Assembly wants to make full use of the OSCE’s potential to help build a safer and more stable future.

“Increasing our attention to this organization is even more urgent, given that the organization’s daily operations in Vienna and in the field presences are impacted by the pandemic, and while COVID-19 is in the focus of so much attention,” he said in his final address to an OSCE Ministerial Council.

Pointing to the numerous challenges facing all OSCE countries, including climate change, scarcity of natural resources, geopolitical conflicts, migration, terrorism, and international organized crime, President Tsereteli implored the governments of the OSCE to invest into common efforts regarding these issues.

“Are we all investing enough into common efforts regarding these issues instead of wasting resources on a renewed arms race, hybrid warfare, violations of international borders and occupation, manipulated elections, and the oppression of the opposition?” Tsereteli asked the ministers. “How much attention is paid to the implementation of OSCE principles and commitments by governments and inside your countries?”

The President noted that as an organization in which every participant is accountable to the others, the OSCE needs to address the issues where there is failure to comply with international commitments. “We, as the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, have been very outspoken on this,” said President Tsereteli. “Whether it is the violation of sovereignty and territorial integrity in countries like Ukraine and Georgia, minority rights, democratic backsliding, or human rights atrocities.”

He noted the importance of Foreign Ministers engaging on a regular basis with ambassadors at the OSCE in Vienna, in order to develop diplomatic groundwork and advance solutions to common challenges.

“Recent events, for instance in Nagorno-Karabakh, demonstrated again that a failure to devote sufficient interest in the solution of long-standing conflicts inevitably leads to less security and turmoil,” Tsereteli said. “Elsewhere, the same is true about the neglect of basic requirements regarding the development of democratic structures and the protection of human rights.”

The President highlighted the work of the Parliamentary Assembly, noting that as direct representatives of the people, parliamentarians have consistently advocated for making the OSCE stronger and promoted the implementation of commitments. He noted that the pandemic has prevented the PA from convening physical meetings since last February, but responded to the current situation by holding numerous “Parliamentary Web Dialogues,” which brought together experts, representatives of intergovernmental structures with hundreds of parliamentarians discussing the pandemic and core OSCE issues.

“The OSCE’s intergovernmental structures have benefitted from the synergies of our joint work, and this could be exploited much further,” Tsereteli said.

The OSCE PA is holding a side event this afternoon on the margins of the OSCE Ministerial Council where it will put forward its “OSCE Call for Action: Reaffirming a Common Purpose” initiative, endorsed by dozens of former OSCE Chairpersons-in-Office, Presidents of the OSCE PA, Secretaries General and other Heads of Institutions of the OSCE.

On Wednesday, the Assembly leadership met in virtual format for discussions on OSCE-related work. Moderated by OSCE PA Secretary General Roberto Montella, the meeting featured an address by the Chairperson-in-Office of the OSCE, Albanian Prime Minister and Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Edi Rama.

For the President's full remarks at today's Ministerial Council meeting, please click 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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