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Foreign Minister Kaljurand: The OSCE's has important role in solving the Russia-Ukraine conflict


3. December 2015 - 21:23

Today, at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Ministerial Council meeting in Belgrade, Foreign Minister Kaljurand spoke of the security situation in Europe and the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Speaking of Europe’s security situation, Foreign Minister Kaljurand stressed that existing OSCE fundamental principles and commitments apply in the same way today, as was agreed to in the Helsinki Final Act 40 years ago. “Despite serious violations of the basic principles of European security, which are reflected in the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia and Russia’s military intervention in eastern Ukraine, the OSCE’s key underlying principles continue to be valid and relevant today. All participating OSCE States have a common responsibility and obligation to comply with these principles, both in words and in deeds,” she added.

On the subject of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Kaljurand stressed the need to focus on finding a solution. “All parties need to fully implement the Minsk agreements. Ukraine's territorial integrity must be restored and Russia must end the illegal annexation of Crimea. Ukraine must be able to regain control of its borders,” the Minister stressed.

According to Foreign Minister Kaljurand, the OSCE special monitoring mission to Ukraine has an essential role in implementing the Minsk agreements and verifying arms retraction. “It is therefore very important to ensure the safety and security of the observers, and to allow them unobstructed  access to the entire conflict region,” Kaljurand said. “Estonia will continue to support the OSCE special mission and to contribute to it,” she added.

Kaljurand expressed concern about the seriously deteriorating humanitarian situation in the conflict-torn regions in Ukraine. “We remain concerned about the violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Crimea, which was illegally annexed by Russia,” the Minister stressed. OSCE independent institutions must be ensured access to the entire Crimean peninsula, the Foreign Minister added.

In her speech, the Foreign Minister also mentioned the long-term conflicts in Moldova, Georgia and Nagorno-Karabakh, and stressed that the OSCE should continue its efforts in finding peaceful solutions. Kaljurand also stressed the importance of the role of the OSCE’s independent institutions in conflict prevention and in promoting democratic values and the principles of the rule of law.

Within the framework of the OSCE ministerial, Foreign Minister Kaljurand also met with OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities Astrid Thors. The Foreign Minister welcomed the OSCE's High Commissioner on National Minorities’ recent report on the human rights situation in Crimea and expressed regret that the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights and the High Commissioner on National Minorities assessment mission was denied access to the Crimean peninsula.

This year, Serbia holds the Chairmanship of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the 22nd OSCE Ministerial Council meeting is taking place on December 3 and 4 in Belgrade.

In 2016, Germany holds the Chairmanship of the OSCE.

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