Statement on the closing meeting of the Canadian FSC chairpersonship (#1065)

Delivered by Military Adviser Arne H Knapskog at the Forum for Security Cooperation, Vienna, 13 December 2023.

Madam Chair, Dear Colleagues,

Four months ago, during the Canadian FSC Chairpersonship's opening session, Norway stressed the need for this Forum to stay focused on Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine and its dire consequences.
The Forum has stayed on track under your leadership.

Throughout the recent trimester, the pertinence of our discussions has been unmistakable. Among all our deliberations we regard the Security Dialog discussions about Woman, Peace and Security, Children and Armed Conflict, and mental health issues in armed conflict, as especially important. These discussions have allowed us to highlight the tragic and far-reaching consequences of Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, and we commend Canada for rightfully bringing these themes up for discussion in the Forum.

Madam Chair,

Norway thanks you Ambassador Kinnear and your able team for excellent work and the stewardship of the Forum under these more than difficult circumstances. Let's be very clear: neither the FSC Chair nor the OSCE Chair is responsible for the current deplorable state of play in our Organisation. It is the Russian Federation’s consistent disregard for international law and OSCE principles and commitments over the years, that have led us to this situation. It's deplorable how the Russian delegation systematically evades real debate in the FSC, either by not attending or by blocking our meeting agendas.

We would also use this opportunity to thank our colleagues in this forum, that week after week fight the Russian propaganda, false and twisted information, historic falsification and lies. We thank you all for fighting for the survival of this body and not letting the Russian Federation dictate what is right and should be discussed in the FSC. It is up to us all to decide what falls under the mandate of the Forum.

The common task of the FSC is to facilitate cooperation among participating States for peace in our region by reducing military risks and enhancing predictability through increased military transparency. However, Russia's actions and rhetoric are detrimentally affecting the work of this Forum. Moscow’s latest step, the withdrawal from the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe is yet another example of their position on Arms Control and CSBMs and poses a great challenge to the European Security Architecture.

Norway looks forward to the upcoming Cypriote FSC Chairpersonship and working with Ambassador Ignatiou and his able team and assure them of our full support and engagement. At this point, we also bid farewell to Bulgaria from the FSC Troika and welcome Croatia as a new Troika member.

Madam Chair,

Our call since 24 February 2022 remains the same: Russia can and has to stop the war. We therefore reiterate our demand that Russia immediately and unconditionally cease its military actions and withdraw all its troops and equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders. We urge all countries, in particular the Belarusian authorities, not to provide material or other support for Russia’s war of aggression. We also call upon all participating states to seek new ways of collaboration in this ever-complex environment.

Thank you