Assembly President Cederfelt highlights areas of co-operation in first address to OSCE Permanent Council

Margareta Cederfelt Vienna 160921Margareta Cederfelt addresses the Permanent Council in Vienna, 16 September 2021COPENHAGEN, 16 September 2021 – In her first address to the OSCE Permanent Council as OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President, Swedish parliamentarian Margareta Cederfelt today urged stronger co-operation within the OSCE, noting that recent developments such as the announced closure of the OSCE Observer Mission at the Russian Checkpoints Gukovo and Donetsk and the imminent danger of cancelling the 2021 OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting are troubling in this regard.

Stressing the need to bolster confidence-building mechanisms and guarantee the contribution of civil society, President Cederfelt highlighted the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) in Ukraine as a sign of hope for greater co-operation and welcomed the Women, Peace and Security agenda, which has been a top priority of Sweden’s Chairpersonship in 2021.

She highlighted the presence of three women at the head table of the Permanent Council, representing the OSCE Chair, the OSCE Secretariat, and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. “Our presence together today is a reminder of the contribution of many other women – at the Secretariat, in our institutions, in our field operations, with other international or non-governmental organizations – to peace and security in the OSCE region and beyond,” President Cederfelt said.

Regarding the SMM, she emphasized the need for monitors to be able to work unhindered and to be present along the entire border between Ukraine and the Russian Federation. She reiterated the OSCE PA’s repeated condemnation of the occupation of Ukrainian territory and expressed concern over the recent military build-up in and around Ukraine.

“In Afghanistan,” Cederfelt said, “since the fall of Kabul a month ago, there have been growing concerns over a security spill over in Central Asia and beyond. We will have to determine how we handle the Partnership with Afghanistan in the future. It is important that the OSCE PA remains plugged in, as the situation develops on the ground.”

On the topic of Georgia, Cederfelt regretted that 13 years after the August 2008 conflict, there has been no significant progress towards the implementation of the six-point ceasefire agreement. “I call on all the parties to secure its application, in letter and spirit, in particular by granting access to humanitarian aid,” Cederfelt said.

Despite the ceasefire in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, Cederfelt stressed that much more needs to be done to guarantee a durable peace to ease the suffering of civilians on the ground. “Building on our good co-operation with the parliaments of Armenia and Azerbaijan, the OSCE PA remains ready to foster interparliamentary dialogue to support this peace process,” she said.

On Moldova, Cederfelt expressed hope that the clear mandate delivered by voters during the last presidential and parliamentary elections will unlock progress in the Transdniestrian settlement process. “I would encourage all actors to support the OSCE Chair’s efforts to convene a 5+2 meeting in the coming months,” she said.

The President underlined the importance of the work of OSCE PA Ad Hoc Committees and Special Representatives, noting their co-ordination with the OSCE’s executive structures in several key areas. With growing concern over climate change, she also noted the heightened level of co-operation in the OSCE’s economic and environmental dimension, as well as strong synergies in the field of counter-terrorism. In this regard she highlighted a regional policy dialogue on foreign terrorist fighters with legislators from Southeast Europe the PA is holding next month in co-ordination with the OSCE Secretariat and with the support of OSCE field operations.

Regarding developments in Belarus, although exchanges with the Parliamentary Assembly in the past have yielded some positive results, she regretted that the authorities in Minsk have not accepted offers to facilitate inclusive dialogue. Cederfelt also expressed concern that migrants are being used to manufacture a crisis at the border between Belarus and the European Union.

Looking ahead toward the 50th anniversary of the signing of the 1975 Helsinki Final Act, Cederfelt drew attention to the PA’s “Call for Action” events, which have included many former and current Heads of Institutions and Chairs-in-Office, with an aim towards generating ideas to make the OSCE more effective, and channeling energy into debating OSCE issues within national parliaments and with governments.

“We must make sure the OSCE gets the place it deserves on their agenda, and, with four years to go until 2025, we should build political support towards an OSCE Summit,” Cederfelt said.

In the question-and-answer session following Cederfelt’s remarks, the OSCE PA was lauded for its efforts to build dialogue confidence and trust between OSCE participating States. Permanent Delegations to the OSCE raised issues related to election observation, COVID-19 recovery efforts, the crisis in and around Ukraine, the occupation of Georgian territory, and the need for a balanced approach in addressing difficult issues in the OSCE.

In response, Cederfelt underlined the need for two-way dialogue based on respect for Helsinki principles and stressed that election observation can only work when based on recognized methodology.

For the President’s remarks to the OSCE Permanent Council, 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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