Statement on the assumption of the Belgian FSC Chairpersonship

Delivered by Military Adviser Arne H. Knapskog at the Forum for Security Cooperation, Vienna, 07 September 2022.

Mr. Chairperson, Dear Colleagues

Norway warmly welcomes Belgium as Chair of the Forum for Security Cooperation (FSC) and Mr. Fiel VANTHEMSCHE for the opening statement.

We appreciate the well-balanced FSC program presented today, which is sensitive towards the difficult security situation in our region, but still include important matters within the FSCs scope of work. The Forum for Security Cooperation is an important place for dialogue, for information and for exchange of opinions.


The last six months have been dominated by a blatant act of aggression by the Russian Federation against its sovereign neighbour, a fellow OSCE participating state. This has sent shivers through our organization, forcing us to leave business behind to concentrate fully and in all three OSCE dimensions on the serious, and devastating situation in Ukraine. Norway was present in the Forum for Security Cooperation (FSC) the last trimester in deep respect of our shared OSCE principles and commitments, and international law. We must continue to protect the principles of open and honest dialogue which remain fundamental to the value of the FSC.


The OSCE concept of comprehensive security is highly relevant in the present situation, and we should engage constructively on all dialogue platforms of the OSCE to meet the particular challenges of our time.

We therefore compliment your plan to give cross-dimensional topics a protruding place on the agenda and to cooperate with the committees of the three dimensions in the OSCE.

Already next week “Children and Armed Conflict” is set as topic for the Security Dialogue. The planned side event hosted by the FSC Chair in cooperation with the (Norwegian) Chair of the Human Dimension Committee (HDC) on this topic will be an example on connecting the work of different bodies of the organization to draw a bigger picture.

The Vienna Document is FSCs main tool for practicing transparency and openness. Norway values the principles of this document, allowing the States to discuss matters of their concern. Norway regrets and condemns last year’s obvious and grave violations of these principles/this document by the Russian Federation and Belarus and call upon them to fulfil their obligations. It is important that we all contribute to openness and transparency by fulfilling its paragraphs and intentions - in letter and in spirit.

The FSC is responsible for the care of this document we are responsible for keeping it fit, modern and up to date. Norway will continue to advocate for a substantial update of the Vienna Document.
Norway looks forward to discussing the topics of SALW/SCA, UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) and the Code of Conduct in the FSC this autumn, especially in the light of the ongoing war in Ukraine.


let us not fool ourselves, we all know that the main topic in the FSC will be the Russian aggression and war against Ukraine. The war in Ukraine has influenced the work of this forum in the past, is currently doing so and will also be predominant in the future.

All States have an obligation under Article 2 of the Charter of the United Nations to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State and to settle their international disputes by peaceful means. No territorial acquisition resulting from the threat or use of force shall be recognized as lawful. We call upon the Russian Federation to stop its total disregard for its obligations under international law, including the Charter of the United Nations, international humanitarian law, international human rights law and the Helsinki Final Act.

Norway remains committed to the sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders, extending to its territorial waters. Today, once again, we will reiterate our demand for the immediate cessation of hostilities by the Russian Federation against Ukraine, of all attacks directed against civilians and civilian infrastructure, and the full, immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the Russian forces and military equipment from the territory of Ukraine.


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

We would also like to use this opportunity to thank the FSC Troika for a job well done even under difficult circumstances, a special thank you to the outgoing troika member Azerbaijan and welcoming Bosnia & Herzegovina – as the new member of the Troika.

Thank you, Mr. Chair,