Heightened insecurity requires recommitment to OSCE principles, parliamentarians say at Remote Session

Laurynas Kasciunas 020721Laurynas KasciunasCOPENHAGEN, 2 July 2021 – Ongoing threats to security and attacks on multilateralism demonstrate the need to strengthen and uphold the international system, participants said today at a virtual meeting of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s Committee on Political Affairs and Security. With millions of people enduring the violence and displacement of protracted conflicts, rising threats associated with cyber/ICT warfare, the proliferation of non-state actors and hybrid warfare, and OSCE values increasingly being called into question, what is needed is a bold and decisive international response, OSCE parliamentarians said.

Opening the meeting, Chair Richard Hudson (United States), emphasized what he called the most crucial role of the committee: “working towards a free and peaceful OSCE zone in which all participating States fully implement the fundamental principles we have agreed to under the Helsinki Final Act.” In this regard, Hudson highlighted a number of the committee’s recent activities, including a recent Parliamentary Web Dialogue on the OSCE’s role in transparency and predictability in military affairs.

Presenting his report, Rapporteur Laurynas Kasciunas reminded colleagues that COVID-19 will not be the only unexpected challenge that the international community faces in the years to come. “It is only if all of us defend the spirit of Helsinki that we can ever jointly and soundly weather future crises and ensure the comprehensive security of our constituents,” Kasciunas said. He regretted that major security threats continue to impact the OSCE area, from military aggression against neighboring countries, occupation and illegal annexation of territory to violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms. “This is what we witness, regretfully, every day,” Kasciunas said.

Therefore, he stressed that it is time to ensure that principles are upheld with actions. “We, parliamentarians, are especially responsible for this, as we must seek to hold our governments accountable for their policies and decisions,” Kasciunas said.

The Rapporteur highlighted in particular several challenges that he identified as priorities: the crisis of multilateralism, the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Nagorno-Karabakh, the conflict in Georgia, the Transdniestria question, emerging cyber/ICT security challenges, the impact of the pandemic on transnational threats, and political repression. Regarding Ukraine, Kasciunas reiterated longstanding OSCE PA calls for the restoration of Ukrainian sovereignty and for the Russian Federation to withdraw all forces.

In the debate on Kasciunas’s report, Committee Vice-Chair Costel Neculai Dunava (Romania) expressed support for OSCE mechanisms such as the Vienna Document and the Open Skies Treaty as important confidence-building measures. He expressed the view that there is no need to reinvent any wheels, but to make the wheels turn more smoothly. This requires, he said, full respect for existing multilateral agreements.

OSCE parliamentarians also called attention to the humanitarian impacts of conflicts, threats such as violent extremism and terrorism, the borderization of Georgia, challenges facing the Mediterranean, and the status of Cyprus. Support was expressed for the full implementation of the Minsk Agreements in resolving the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Concerns were raised about the general deterioration of security in the OSCE area, with members highlighting OSCE tools such as the Code of Conduct on Political-Military Aspects of Security as important for standardizing the conduct of security forces, both within the State and in inter-State relations. The need for observing international law and safeguarding democratic control of the armed forces was stressed as essential, particularly in the context of the current state of tensions.

Today’s meeting was the last of three online general committee meetings taking place this week as part of the OSCE PA’s 2021 Remote Session, with hybrid Standing Committee and plenary meetings taking place next week.

For more information on the Remote Session, 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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