VIENNA, 31 October 2019 – OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President George Tsereteli appealed today to strengthen co-operation between all OSCE institutions in an effort to close the gap between what governments have committed to and what they do in practice.
his fourth address to the Permanent Council in Vienna, the principal decision-making body of the OSCE which brings together the ambassadors of the 57 participating States every week, he underlined the importance of conflict resolution in order to ensure security and peaceful development for the people in all OSCE countries.In
Recalling the fundamental changes that took place in Europe 30 years ago – with free elections in Poland, the dismantling of the Iron Curtain in Hungary, and the fall of the Berlin Wall – Tsereteli noted that the OSCE has made a substantial contribution to positive developments over the past three decades. He noted, however, that the initial spirit of optimism has soured.
“We all know what today’s reality is: growing tensions between former partners and even allies, war on our continent, unfulfilled promises in many regions of the OSCE, and renewed illiberal and anti-democratic tendencies sponsored by governments that cling to power – but also opposition forces that resort to violence and other undemocratic means or preach the end of liberal democracy,” Tsereteli said.
“Too many leaders have replaced their readiness for co-operation with selfish unilateral action that shows contempt for their partners and the vision outlined in the [1990 Charter of Paris for a New Europe],” said the President. He called for a greater role for the OSCE in providing a remedy to the heightened geopolitical tensions, protracted conflicts and democratic backsliding.
“Will we, as the bodies and institutions of the OSCE, be able to provide the international community with an impetus for a corrective course of action?” Tsereteli asked. He highlighted the Slovak OSCE Chairmanship’s theme of “effective multilateralism” as a worthwhile goal and stressed the need to co-ordinate efforts in this regard. He underlined the role of parliamentarians in holding governments to account and to ensure that they live up to their international commitments.
“Our success is measured in terms of how we manage to improve the everyday situation of the peoples in our countries,” he said.
He highlighted the Assembly’s efforts in Ukraine, where OSCE parliamentarians have offered assistance to those who are ready to engage in conflict settlement and worked to raise awareness about human suffering in the conflict-affected areas. He welcomed recent positive steps toward progress in Ukraine.
“I appeal to everybody to support progress through constructive and co-operative rhetoric and not belittle first necessary steps,” Tsereteli said. “We must use every window of opportunity and build on any positive momentum that develops.”
He also drew attention to the suffering of Georgians as a consequence of the continued illegal occupation of territories of their country, and the urgent need for progress regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict.
President Tsereteli highlighted the work of the Parliamentary Assembly, including its ad hoc committees and special representatives, and recent visits he has undertaken. He pointed out that the Assembly sees it as its task to raise awareness about the good work being done by the OSCE, and toward this end has conducted numerous visits to OSCE institutions and field presences this year, including in The Hague, Warsaw, Bishkek, Kyiv, Nur Sultan and Belgrade.
Following his speech, President Tsereteli fielded replies by delegations from the Russian Federation, European Union, Switzerland, Azerbaijan, Georgia, United States, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Turkey, Armenia and Uzbekistan.
For the full speech in PDF format, please click here.
Watch the speech on YouTube here.