We join others in congratulating the newly elected President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Margareta Cederfelt. We welcome her to the Permanent Council and thank her for her presentation.
Norway highly appreciates the work of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. It plays an important role in enhancing the political and popular legitimacy of the OSCE as a whole. In dialogue with their constituencies, governments and colleagues, parliamentarians contribute significantly to furthering understanding and support for multilateral solutions to national and international challenges.
The new President presents an ambitious plan, and we support efforts to realize the full potential of the Parliamentary Assembly and its members. My delegation will do our best to support the newly appointed Special Representative on the South Caucasus, Ms. Kari Henriksen from Norway, in this important task.
We support the President’s acknowledgement of the importance of following up on the Women, Peace and Security agenda, and her emphasis on the participation and protection of civil society. We look forward to future reports on the initiative to increase co-operation with the executive structures in the second dimension.
We live in a time of decreasing trust. Conflicts in and between participating States of the OSCE remain unresolved. Not all elections are free and fair. Human rights defenders are being persecuted. These are all issues that should be and are addressed by parliamentarians. The role of the Parliamentary Assembly in election observation is of utmost importance. It is of also crucial that the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly continues to bring parliamentarians representing all our countries and every political view together to uphold a dialogue and build confidence. We highly value that the Parliamentary Assembly speaks out against threats to democracy and against unfulfilled commitments.
Let me end by also thanking Ambassador Nothelle, and welcoming Ambassador Panceski to the important position of OSCE PA Special Representative here in Vienna. We hope that contact between Vienna and Copenhagen can be developed even further in the years to come, and we encourage colleagues to reach out to their PA representatives for dialogue on issues relevant to both the Parliamentary Assembly and the structures here in Vienna.