Statement by Ambassador Wittig on the OSCE-briefing for 2011 by the Foreign Minister of Lithuania
I would like to join colleagues in warmly welcoming the Foreign Minister of Lithuania, His Excellency Mr Audronius Ažubalis, to the Council today. May I also thank him for his comprehensive briefing, setting out the priorities of Lithuania as Chairman-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) for 2011.
Germany shares the Chairmanship’s priorities and looks forward to working with Lithuania on the key issues the OSCE is facing. Let me briefly comment on three aspects:
First, we consider progress in the resolution of protracted conflicts in Eastern Europe and Asia to be of particular relevance. The OSCE plays an important role as a facilitator in this regard. However, no success can be achieved without political will of the relevant players on the ground. Unresolved issues in Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan have to be addressed by partners in a consensual and peaceful manner and on the basis of respect for human rights, including minority rights.
Germany commends the active OSCE participation in the political process aimed at settling the Transnistrian conflict. The Chairman-in-Office has already conducted helpful consultations with parties involved. The recent forming of a coalition government in Moldova provides an opportunity to move forward. We encourage parties to take up discussions in formal Five-plus-Two-Talks as soon as possible.
Germany welcomes the role of the OSCE in pursuing a settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict within the framework of the Minsk-Group and agrees with the Chairman-in-Office that a strengthening of OSCE monitoring activities could prove beneficial. On Georgia, we remain committed to the principle of an OSCE presence as part of an international monitoring of the situation. We continue to support the active engagement of the OSCE in the ongoing Geneva International Discussions to reduce tensions and to build trust among affected communities. We also stress the importance of the functioning of the two incident prevention mechanisms. In this context we urge for a swift decision concerning the continued funding of the work of the UN representative to the Geneva talks.
Second, Germany wishes to express concern regarding the closure of the OSCE Office in Minsk by the government of Belarus. We fully share the views presented by the Lithuanian Chairman-in-Office on this issue. The OSCE Office in Minsk provides an important contribution to strengthening institutions and the rule of law in Belarus – and the work of the Office has not yet been completed. Germany appreciates the efforts made by the Lithuanian Chairmanship to reopen the Office and ensure that it can continue with its mission.
Third, let me underline that Germany attaches great importance to a close cooperation between the OSCE and the UN. Cooperation in the fight against terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction as well as against organized crime are important examples where the international community can benefit from a close relationship between the two organisations. As a regional arrangement under Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations, the OSCE is, inter alia, a key instrument for post-conflict rehabilitation in its region. We welcome ideas of the Lithuanian Chairmanship to examine the OSCE role on stabilization, reconstruction and peacebuilding in more detail. The UN Secretary General’s Report on „Peacebuilding in the Immediate Aftermath of conflict“ may be considered a pertinent underpinning for these deliberations and shows how the two organizations complement each other in their efforts.
To conclude, let me thank the Chairman-in-Office once again for his briefing and reiterate Germany’s full support for the Lithuanian OSCE Chairmanship.