Home » We Continue to Need the OSCE: UK Closing Statement at OSCE Ministerial Council 2023
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We Continue to Need the OSCE: UK Closing Statement at OSCE Ministerial Council 2023

On behalf of the UK, I want to begin by thanking you and your committed team. Thank you for your warm hospitality here in Skopje. And in this difficult year, thank you for your outstanding leadership. And to the Secretary General, dear Helga, our deepest appreciation and gratitude to you, the heads of the autonomous institutions and the hard working staff of the OSCE.

As Lord Cameron said this week, the UK will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes. We will continue to give political, economic, military and moral support to ensure Ukraine prevails, to secure the lasting peace that the Ukrainian people deserve and the security that our continent demands, in the face of such unfettered, unjustifiable aggression.

As the overwhelming majority of members of this organisation have continued to reiterate this week, Russia – supported by the Belarusian regime – is solely responsible for the illegal, full-scale invasion of Ukraine. To Russia we say simply this – your actions, your violations of the UN Charter and the principles of the Helsinki Final Act are indefensible.

As the overwhelming majority have expressed here in Skopje – these principles – of sovereignty and territorial integrity – matter; this Organisation matters; and that when it matters, we have shown once again that we will stand together to defend both.

Yesterday, we heard Mr Lavrov say that the OSCE was on the ‘brink of the abyss’.  A comment of little value from the representative of a country which invaded Georgia in 2008, illegally annexed Crimea in 2014 and launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year. A comment of little surprise, given the OSCE’s crucial role in holding Russia to account, including through the Moscow Mechanism. A comment that this Ministerial Council shows has fooled no one.

Mr Chair, what we have shown is that we need the OSCE. In a turbulent region, the OSCE’s democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights institutions are globally renowned, holding nations to account. OSCE field missions are deployed across the Balkans and Central Asia, working with host governments to deliver long-term change.

The UK is delighted to have agreed on a new Chair in Office, and welcomes extending the mandates for the Secretary General and heads of the autonomous institutions. We thank them for stepping up at such short notice to ensure the continued efficacy of the OSCE. You can all count on the United Kingdom’s full support. Mr Chair, as we all know, the OSCE still needs an agreed and appropriate budget. We look forward to returning to Vienna in the spirit of consensus in order to finalise this important issue.

Mr Chair, as we look to 2024, we will continue to stand with Ukraine. We will continue to stand up for the OSCE. And we will continue to stand for the foundations and values of our collective European security. That is our choice and it is why we are here.

Source: Gov.UK