Statement by Ambassador Byrne Nason at the UNSC Briefing by the OSCE Chairperson in Office
Statement14 March 2022
Thank you Mr President.
Minister Rau, welcome to the Council and many thanks for your informative briefing. At the outset, I would like to express Ireland’s admiration and appreciation to the Government and people of Poland for your generosity and solidarity to those fleeing the war in Ukraine. We in Ireland are also fully committed to supporting the humanitarian response.
The Helsinki Final Act, signed in 1975, laid the foundation for what is now the OSCE. As an inclusive forum where east and west could meet, the OSCE, with its unique concept of comprehensive security, has served the European continent well for almost 50 years.
As a founding member of the OSCE, Ireland regards the organisation as a vital instrument for European stability and security. We greatly value the OSCE’s work on conflict prevention and resolution, its activities on human rights, and its regional role under the UN Charter.
As we now experience another tragic episode in Europe’s long, and often violent history, the work of the OSCE takes on a renewed significance. The Russian Federation’s relentless, unprovoked and unjustified attack on Ukraine casts a dark shadow across our continent as innocent civilians in Ukraine suffer unbearably and we watch a humanitarian catastrophe unfold. Ireland once again strongly condemns the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine, a sovereign and independent country, and calls on it to uphold its international obligations.
The Russian Federation must immediately cease hostilities, unconditionally withdraw its troops from the entire territory of Ukraine, and refrain from using further threats or the use of force of any kind against Ukraine or any other OSCE participating State. We urge it to turn away from war and choose the path of dialogue and diplomacy, not bullets and bombs.
Ireland welcomes the priorities for 2022 outlined by the Chairperson-in-Office of the OSCE. I want to assure Minister Rau of Ireland’s full support in his important role.
As Under-Secretary diCarlo said earlier, the OSCE is a unique organisation extending from Vancouver to Vladivostok. It is the embodiment of a vision for Europe’s security architecture – a vision of creating a different relationship for resolving issues between States.
Its strength lies in its value as an essential forum for free and open engagement. This is why we welcome in particular the Renewed European Security Dialogue initiated by the Chairperson-in-Office aimed at using the full potential of the OSCE as a platform for dialogue.
Since 2014, the Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine has made a significant difference to the lives of people living along the contact line in eastern Ukraine, away from public limelight. The mission negotiated local ceasefires enabling repair works on critical civilian infrastructure giving millions in eastern Ukraine access to fundamental services. It was an indispensable, impartial voice, and the eyes and ears of participating States on the ground.
Allow me to express our condolences on the death of Maryna Fenina, the SMM national member killed by shelling. We commend the OSCE for evacuation of staff. We recognise the evacuation as a temporary measure, and acknowledge that the mission is working differently right now, and is ready to resume its monitoring work. We stress the importance of an OSCE presence on the ground into the future.
While the eyes of the world are rightly focused on Ukraine, we are mindful that the institutions and field offices of the OSCE continue to operate throughout the region. Indeed, it’s vital that they do so.
Ireland continues to support renewed efforts towards a negotiated, comprehensive and sustainable settlement of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, particularly on the long-term status of Nagorno-Karabakh.
We believe the OSCE Minsk Group is the appropriate format through which to achieve this objective; it is essential that both sides meaningfully engage in this effort. Ireland, together with our EU partners, stands ready to contribute to the intensification of negotiations in this format.
Ireland strongly supports the Polish Chair’s intention to keep conflict prevention and resolution at the top of the OSCE’s agenda, including in Georgia and Moldova. Here too will the OSCE’s work to advance the Women, Peace and Security agenda be critical, particularly for those women who have been forced to flee Ukraine.
We also welcome Poland’s emphasis on responding to new and emerging threats to regional peace and security, such as violent extremism and attacks in cyberspace, as well as the challenges we may face in a post-Covid environment, through effective multilateralism.
Ireland recalls that the OSCE plays a unique role in holding all participating States accountable to OSCE principles and commitments. The inclusion of civil society is essential in this regard. We fully support the OSCE’s work on democracy and human rights, and reaffirm our steadfast support for the invaluable role played by the OSCE autonomous institutions, in particular the Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) whose work on election monitoring we support without reservation.
In conclusion, Mr President,
The OSCE’s comprehensive approach to security is as pertinent and relevant as ever - respect for human rights, the rule of law and economic and environmental progress are all essential elements for sustaining peace and prosperity. We look forward to working closely with the Chairperson-in-Office to ensure strong, complementary partnerships between the UN and the OSCE.
Thank you President.