Statement in response to the Head of the OSCE Mission to Moldova

As delivered by Ambassador Anne-Kirsti Karlsen at the Permanent Council, Vienna, 23 November 2023.

Thank you, Mr. Chair,

I join others in warmly welcoming Ambassador Keiderling back to the Permanent Council and I thank her for her report.

We commend the Mission for continuing with delivering on its important work amidst the changing regional circumstances and challenges following the Russian Federation’s full-scale aggression against Ukraine, and the repercussions for Moldova.

In this context, the field mission plays a pivotal role when it comes to maintaining peace and stability in the region and preventing an escalation between the Sides of Nistru/Dniester. This includes, among other things, monitoring visits to the security zone and border areas as well as exchanging views, experiences, and good practices on reducing the risk of explosives related to Small-Arms and Light Weapons. The Mission also fosters confidence-building through facilitating dialogue and cooperation.

Madame Chair,

The Russian Federation’s ongoing aggression against Ukraine has had severe impacts for Moldova. The influx of refugees, rising energy prices and increased pressure on national institutions has placed a heavy burden on the Moldovan authorities. Norway recognizes that these challenges require a cross-dimensional approach in our efforts to support Moldova. This year Norway further increased the civillian support to Moldova under the Nansen Programme by 500 million Norwegian Kroner. Norway has also provided around 350 million kroner in humanitarian aid in Moldova since Russia´s full-scale invasion. Norway also aligned itself with the EU’s restrictive measures imposed in response to attempts to destabilize Moldova.

Mr. Chair,

It is proven that including women’s perspectives in conflict resolution efforts make peace agreements stronger and more sustainable, and thus reduces the likelihood of relapse in conflict. It is therefore regrettable that the workshops on conflict analysis and negotiation, related to the project on capacity building for female members of the joint expert Working Groups, were hindered twice during this year.

Norway supports the Mission’s project on the removal and disposal of dangerous chemicals. Residents of targeted communities will directly benefit from their removal and disposal. We look forward to seeing the results from this project next year.

We congratulate Moldova on conducting peaceful and efficient elections this November. We recognize the challenging circumstances under which they were held, with forces attempting to undermine the country. We still regret the extensive use of executive powers during the ongoing state of emergency to introduce a last-minute ban on a great number of candidates.

Mr. Chair,

We recognize that it has become harder to find common ground since the beginning of the Russian Federation’s full-scale aggression in Ukraine. Precisely because of this, it is essential that the process towards a peaceful, comprehensive, and lasting settlement to the Transnistrian conflict continues. This entails a settlement that is based on the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Moldova, within its internationally recognized borders, and with a special status for Transnistria. Norway recognizes the unique role the OSCE, and its mission to Moldova, has in this regard. Thus, Norway supports the extension of the mission’s mandate with a full year.

Mr. Chair,

We once again thank Ambassador Keiderling and her team for their invaluable work over the last year. The work of the field missions is one of the greatest assets of our organization and crucial for our regional security. Norway will continue to contribute to this, and we urge all participating States to do the same.

I thank you.