Parliamentary President, concerned about diplomatic deadlock over OSCE field operations, underscores importance of safeguarding Organization’s outreach

Muttonen CiO openingChristine Muttonen (left) at the opening of the Austrian OSCE Chairmanship, Vienna, 12 January 2017VIENNA, 13 January 2017 – The President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Austrian parliamentarian Christine Muttonen, today called for the immediate agreement on the extension of mandates of OSCE field operations, some of which are currently being held up by representatives of OSCE countries.

“Field missions have long been the crown jewel of the OSCE, both helping OSCE countries to live up to their commitments through practical project work and representing a vital element of the Organization’s outreach capacity. The excellent work being done by our professionals in the field is now effectively being held hostage by diplomats in Vienna, some of whom are vetoing this most important work of the Organization,” said Muttonen.

The mandates of the OSCE’s field operations in Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan all expired on 31 December 2016 without agreement on their extension. The OSCE Observer Mission at the Russian Checkpoints Gukovo and Donetsk is set to expire on 31 January, currently with no agreement on extension.

In his address to the OSCE’s Permanent Council yesterday, the new OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, called for a rapid agreement on remaining differences. President Muttonen stressed that the Austrian Chairmanship enjoys the full support of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly in working for a solution to the current deadlock.Muttonen OSCE AcademyThen-Vice-President Christine Muttonen and Secretary General Roberto Montella with students of the OSCE Academy in Bishkek, 3 June 2016

“OSCE parliamentarians have repeatedly called for OSCE field missions to be given robust mandates that allow them to get on with their work and help OSCE countries. Whether it is promoting women’s participation in political life, undertaking anti-corruption training for judges, or supporting professional work by parliamentary staff, OSCE missions add value to the security and good governance of the countries in which they work. I call on all diplomats to the OSCE to redouble efforts and reach agreement, enabling OSCE staff to do their jobs; continuing to block this work is simply not acceptable,” said the President.

The Permanent Council of the OSCE, bringing together representatives from all OSCE countries, meets weekly in Vienna and is responsible for governing the day-to-day operational work of the OSCE between the meetings of the Ministerial Council. It functions by consensus.

In its Baku Declaration of 2014 the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly called for the OSCE to “adopt full, effective, and long-term mandates for OSCE field operations,” reiterating similar previous appeals.

At the end of 2016, the OSCE had 17 field operations.



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