Statement on the assumption of the Austrian FSC Chairpersonship

Delivered by Ambassador Anne-Kirsti Karlsen at the 983rd meeting of the Forum for Security Cooperation (FSC), Vienna, 8 September 2021.

Secretary General, Mr. Chair, Dear Colleagues

The Forum for Security Cooperation is an important place for dialogue, for information and for exchange of opinions on political-military topics. It is my pleasure on behalf of Norway to warmly welcome Austria as Chair of the Forum for Security Cooperation and H.E. Peter Launsky Secretary General for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Austria to the Forum. We appreciate the well-balanced FSC program presented today, which pays attention to several important matters within the FSCs scope of work.

We were relieved that this year’s ASRC finally could be conducted last week. As always, we welcome this opportunity to exchange views on European security, in what we believe is an important OSCE-arena for frank, open and inclusive dialogue about how to live up to the commitments this organisation is founded on. In this context we thank the FSC chairs, for their report to the ASCR on the work done in this Forum since the ASRC in 2020.

In the upcoming trimester it is of particular interest to Norway to see that the FSC contributes to the Ministerial Council in Stockholm with substantial decisions. We have faith in the FSC and the Austrian chairpersonship, to make this happen, and will follow the negotiations with interest. We agree that quality should go before quantity.

We appreciate the focus on conventional arms control in this autumns program, a topic we regard as the core business of the FSC.

The Vienna Document is the main tool within the FSC for practicing transparency and openness. Norway values the possibilities grounded in this document, allowing the States to discuss matters of their concern. It is important that we all contribute to openness and transparency by fulfilling its paragraphs and intentions - in letter and spirit. The FSC is responsible for the care of this document, keeping it fit, modern and up to date. Norway will continue to support a substantial update of the Vienna Document, while safeguarding the document we have today.

Norway also looks particularly forward to discussing mil-to-mil contacts on doctrine, the Code of Conduct meeting with the focus of integration of women in the armed forces, and the joint FSC/PC meeting on the Structured Dialogue.

Although a dedicated meeting on UNSCR 1325 is not scheduled for this trimester, we are confident that the chair will include Women, Peace and Security (WPS) into the other topics where relevant, thus mainstreaming it into the work of the FSC. We should remain ambitious in these matters. We have to make full use of the potential for further advancing the WPS agenda within the FSC and recall the Joint Statement by 52 pS on UNSCR 1325 delivered at the Tirana Ministerial last year.

We would also like to use this opportunity to thank the previous Chair, Armenia, for a job well done, and for the important discussions you platformed during the last trimester. Thank you also to the USA for their efforts for the Forum and its tasks over the last year and welcome to Azerbaijan – the new member of the Troika.

Dear colleagues and partners,

The FSC is not less important at a time when we seem to disagree more often than we agree. I would encourage us all to contribute to the work of this forum constructively, substantially and in the good spirit of Helsinki.

We wish the Austrian Chair all the best for the coming period and ensure that Norway will contribute constructively in your FSC meetings.

Thank you, Mr. Chair