Statement by First Deputy Permanent Representative Dmitry Polyanskiy at the Briefing of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office at the UN Security Council
We thank OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Prime-Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Albany Mr.Edi Rama for his briefing on the work of the organization and its agenda.
Russia has been standing for enhancing cooperation between the UN and OSCE based on Chapter 8 of the UN Charter and declaration of the OSCE Permanent Council on cooperation with the United Nations dated 2006. We proceed from the assumption that this regional organization should add to the global efforts on the European continent.
We hope the effective Albanian Chairmanship will strictly follow the mandate, play a role of a “fair broker” in achieving consensus and promoting collective interests and priorities of the organization’s member states, and stick to neutral approaches.
As for practical interaction of the two organizations, it has quite a broad scope, however there is still space to enhance prospective cooperation.
Thus the OSCE has a significant capacity in the area of countering transnational threats, including foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs), combating the financing of terrorism and spread of extremist ideology. When acting at the track of countering terrorism, one needs to scrupulously observe the guidelines of international cooperation elaborated by the Security Council. We believe that to promote non-consensus initiatives at this track, e.g. the concept of “countering violent extremism” (as some OSCE member states do) means to move in the wrong direction.
We support the plans of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism and OSCE to hold a Conference in Vienna on the issue of FTF-returnees on 11-12 February, we hope it will be a success.
The time has long become ripe to step up the OSCE work on countering the drug threat to a new level in terms of quality. We welcome the plans of the current Chairmanship to convene a traditional anti-drug conference.
Last year gave a new impetus to the work of the OSCE in the area of safe usage of information and communications technology (ICT). We hope when addressing this issue the constructive approach will prevail. It should be a priority to ensure continuity of talks on international information security under UN auspices that should aim at elaborating universal agreements about rules of responsible behavior in the information space. Such rules should stipulate equal rights of states to participate in management of the Internet.
In the era of persisting global trend towards loss of trust, the regional organizations, including the OSCE have, a special mission - to restore the environment of mutual understanding in order to resolve crisis situations in their relevant regions. The main criterion of effectiveness here is assistance in settling conflicts.
For our part, we seek to provide all sorts of support to OSCE-based efforts: as co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, we support its efforts in Nagorno-Karabakh settlement, work to ensure rapprochement of the sides to the Transnistrian settlement.
We give a positive assessment to the UN-OSCE interaction in the Balkans, as well as the joint chairmanship of the two organizations at the Geneva discussions on stabilization in the South Caucasus.
When speaking about country cases on OSCE agenda, we cannot leave out the internal Ukrainian crisis. The OSCE plays quite a positive role in its settlement, that has no other alternative but to proceed from the Minsk Package. This fundamental document that has been endorsed by UNSC resolution 2202 envisages a direct dialogue between Kiev, Donetsk, and Lugansk. In order to set up this dialogue, the Contact Group was established.
Special Monitoring Mission (SMM OSCE) is one of the key elements of OSCE assistance. We are supportive of its work. The SMM should provide maximum comprehensive and objective reports on the situation, i.a. report the toll among civilians, damage of the civil infrastructure, maintain direct contact with the local authorities in Donbass. We call the OSCE Chairman-in-Office to enable publications of SMM thematic reports on the victims of the conflict in Donbass and damages of the civil infrastructure throughout the entire conflict period.
We regret to say, but despite huge diplomatic efforts, the solution to the crisis in Ukraine is still a long way off. In this context, we call to give straight and unbiased response to Kiev’s claims to revisit the Minsk Agreements, that are turning five years on 12 February, by the way. The Security Council enshrined its support for this document in resolution 2202 and reconfirmed it in the PRST dated 6 June, 2018.
There are many examples of such revisionist policy of Kiev. Suffice it to cite the words of Ukraine’s representative in the political sub-group of the TCG (Trilateral Contact Group) Oleksii Reznikov who said in an interview on 23 January that the position of President Zelenskyy remained unchanged and suggested revisiting the Minsk Agreements, at least part of them. We would be very curious to learn what our German and French colleagues think of that, namely - how they believe this proposal can reconcile with their views on the prospects of the Ukrainian settlement, and when they are going to stop defying evident things.
In the course of those five years, Kiev failed to implement any of its obligations. It went for any pretext to escape dialogue with its people; it hides behind alleged “Russian aggression” of which no one has been able to give any evidence.
Unfortunately, we can conclude from statements of our colleagues, in particular of the representative of Germany, that they are ready to pick up the tune of those groundless stories.
Even despite the fact, that none other than former Head of SMM OSCE Ertuğrul Apakan refuted those stories in this very room and in your presence, esteemed Christoph.
As we see from statements of our Western colleagues, none of you has read the Minsk Agreements or is going to read them. One senses that you are far more comfortable with presenting Russia as side to the conflict which defies any facts or common sense, thus playing along with Kiev authorities that try to escape responsibility. By doing so, you give Kiev authorities a carte blanche to carry out any discriminative action against its own Russian-speaking citizens. By the way, having listened to statements by some of our colleagues who fantasized about human rights violations in the Crimea, one might think that this region that has reunified with Russia is closed for visitors and that no one can get in there. Of course this is nothing but a fable. The Crimea is open to any visits that comply with the Russian legislation. The tourist flow speaks for that, as 7 millions tourists have visited Crimea over the past year. So, Ms.Pierce, please stop fantasizing; better come and see the life of Crimeans for yourself.
Despite the contradictory signals that come from the “Zelenskyy team”, we still want to believe that with the advent of the new administration, Kiev finally understands the obvious: No settlement can be achieved in the East of the country unless the population of those regions starts to directly participate in the process - here at the UN it is called inclusiveness. Being guided by this principle, we call sides to various internal conflicts - from Afghanistan to Syria and Yemen, from Cyprus to Colombia and Venezuela - to start dialogue. It is only the population of Donbass that is deprived of its evident right. We would like to believe that the OSCE sees all the absurdity and utter futility of this situation.
We hope the new Ukrainian leadership will recognize toxicity of promoting confrontational initiatives that split the society, violate language-related, educational, religious, and cultural rights of the Russian-speaking population and other national minorities. The Kiev authorities need to do the direct opposite: They need to try to win the trust of people, whose interests and worldview were mocked at by the authors of the anti-constitutional “Maidan coup”. It is the task of the OSCE to support this process that is crucial for the future of Ukraine; and not to encourage shortsighted and wrongful nationalist outbreaks that still run through the Ukrainian community like cancerous tumor.
We are convinced that the OSCE can and should play a big role in establishing multilateralism as a framework for international relations that rest upon the international law, provide comprehensive support to building a system of equal, all-encompassing, and indivisible security. That is why we are interested in strengthening the role and authority of this organization, development of its cooperation with the United Nations, the reserves of which are not exhausted yet. We expect that the Albanian chairmanship will also contribute to this process.
In response to the Permanent Representative of Germany:
We always admire the institutional memory of Christoph Heusgen, who indeed participated in negotiations that elaborated the Minsk Agreements. However, recently the memory started to fail. As for aggression to Ukraine, the modern history knows only one fact of such aggression, which happened on 22 June, 1941. We will not name the country that carried out this aggression. Today, nationalist forces in Ukraine seek to forget this, as they sing along with your words about alleged Russian aggression.
I will not dwell on the topic of MH-17. Our position is well-established, there is no evidence, Russia is not admitted to the investigation, finally, this is not the topic of our conversation today. Christoph, I just want to call you to certain responsibility. You promote beautiful initiatives that we support: children in armed conflict, women, peace and security. Your every statement, in which you support the unwillingness of Ukraine to talk to its people, means not theoretical promotion of those initiatives, but practical real lives of women and children who die in Donbass under bombs and bullets of Ukrainian military. Please think about it next time you speak on this topic.