Thank you Mr. President.
I would like to welcome Foreign Minister Saudabayev to the Council and congratulate him on assuming the Chairmanship-in-Office of the OSCE. Mr. Minister, thank you very much for your comprehensive briefing. The United States would like to assure you of our full cooperation during the coming year.
At our open debate last month, we discussed the critical importance for the UN to coordinate conflict prevention and post-conflict peacebuilding efforts with regional organizations. We welcome the important partnership between the OSCE and the UN, which has allowed both organizations to exploit their comparative advantages in order to strengthen regional and international peace and security.
Today, I would like to highlight a few important examples of this cooperation.
UN-OSCE cooperation in the Balkans has been exemplary. In Kosovo, the OSCE served as a critical pillar in the UN Mission, promoting democracy and governance. Just as the UN has reconfigured its mission and refocused its efforts in Kosovo, the OSCE has adjusted its own role as part of the overall international effort. The successful municipal elections in Kosovo held last year were the first democratic elections in the country held without the assistance of the OSCE. Local and international observers confirmed that the elections adhered to democratic standards. They were a testament to the OSCE’s excellent work in helping the people of Kosovo build up their own democratic institutions.
Regarding Georgia, the OSCE plays an important role, along with the UN and the European Union, in supporting dialogue through the Geneva Process. The United States urges all parties to participate in the Geneva Process actively and pragmatically and to make full use of agreed-upon measures to prevent and respond to incidents that could increase tensions. We must continue to work toward the re-establishment of an OSCE presence in Georgia and a long-term peaceful resolution of the conflict. The United States once again expresses its support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.
Mr. President, we welcome and encourage OSCE’s continuing close cooperation with the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. The OSCE has drawn on its vast experience securing and managing borders, training police, and promoting democratic elections to assist the government and people of Afghanistan in strengthening the rule of law.
During and following last year’s presidential and provincial council elections, the OSCE shared its expertise on ways to improve the electoral process with Afghan leaders. We agree with the findings of the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights that deep and sustained reform is required to enhance the Afghan government’s ability and credibility in conducting future elections. We would encourage Afghanistan and the OSCE to explore further cooperation in this area and in areas such as advancing gender equality and human rights and training for parliamentarians.
Further, we commend the Chairman-in-Office's commitment to promoting the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1540 as part of the global effort to address nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation. We also welcome the OSCE’s commitment to implementing other Security Council resolutions on terrorism, protecting civilians and combating sexual violence in conflict zones.
We note that the Chairman has stressed the importance of addressing environmental threats. We remain committed to working with all participating states on these challenges, including climate change and energy security. Diverse and reliable energy supplies are important for the security of Europe, and the OSCE, with its comprehensive approach to security, is well-placed to highlight the links between energy and security. The United States has suggested developing new mechanisms through which any potential supply disruptions could be effectively dealt with on a political level.
Finally, we support the continuing efforts, under OSCE auspices, to resolve the dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh and to bring all concerned parties to consensus on the future of Moldova’s Transnistria region. And we will continue to work with other participating states in the Corfu Process to strengthen our ability to address security challenges in Europe and prevent new conflicts from arising.
Mr. President, the United States encourages the continued dialogue and deepening cooperation between the UN and the OSCE. We applaud the OSCE for its many important efforts to date. Thank you, Mr. President.
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