Delivered by Ambassador Ihor Prokopchuk, Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the International Organizations in Vienna, to the 1171st special meeting of the Permanent Council, 11 January 2018
Ukraine warmly welcomes to the Permanent Council the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Angelino Alfano. We thank him for presenting a comprehensive outline of the Italian OSCE Chairmanship priorities for 2018 and wish success in steering the work of the Organisation in the course of the year.
We commend the determination of the Italian Chairmanship to focus the attention of the OSCE on implementation of its fundamental principles and commitments. Indeed, the flagrant breach of the basic norms of the OSCE and the international law by the Russian Federation since 2014 has given rise to the worst security crisis in Europe and re-emergence of attempted annexation of part of territory of one country by another country for the first time since World War II. Aggression and use of force for territorial acquisition cannot and must not be accepted or tolerated in the XXI century Europe. As we hear from some quarters the calls for building a positive and unifying agenda for this Organisation, we would strongly insist that ensuring respect for the core principles and norms of the Helsinki Final Act and the Paris Charter is an impressively positive agenda that belongs to raison d’etre of the OSCE and forms a prerequisite for peace and security in Europe. Witnessing clear, gross and continuing violations of OSCE principles and commitments, we would again recall the commitment undertaken by the participating States at the Istanbul Summit to explore ways to increase the OSCE’s effectiveness in dealing with such cases. We encourage the Italian Chairmanship to launch respective discussions.
The OSCE has an important role to play in facilitating the process of resolution of the conflict, in particular through the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine and the OSCE autonomous institutions. Five separate provisions of the Minsk agreements assign specific roles to the OSCE, but they are fulfilled only partially or not at all because of impediments and restrictions set by the Russian side, including with regards to ensuring permanent monitoring and verification at the Ukrainian-Russian state border. We encourage the Italian Chairmanship to use fully the toolbox of this Organisation to enable implementation of the prescribed functions.
The SMM has enjoyed and will enjoy the support of Ukraine as the Mission strives to effectively perform its mandate, in particular under limitations and strict conditions imposed in Russia-controlled parts of Donbas. The Mission will require continuous strong backing of all actors – the OSCE Chairmanship, the Secretariat and the CPC, the participating States – to seek marked improvement of its operational environment in the non-government controlled areas where Russia must deliver on its responsibilities. This environment is characterized in the last year’s refusal of the Russian delegation in Vienna, citing instructions from the capital, to include condemnation of any attempt of harassment or intimidation of SMM monitors in the text of the Declaration of support for the SMM adopted by the Permanent Council in April 2017. Last month’s unilateral withdrawal by the Russian Federation of its officers from the JCCC, unfortunately, further increased the risks to the SMM’s monitors and mandated activity in the non-government controlled areas of Donbas.