Deputy Minister Brkić, Mr. Chairperson, Dear Colleagues,
I will join others in welcoming Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Mr. Josip Brkić to the Hofburg, and congratulating Bosnia and Herzegovina, and ambassador Bencun, at the helm of the Forum for Security Cooperation.
We look forward to your able chairmanship, and we compliment your priorities for the trimester. We fully agree in keeping the Russian aggression in Ukraine on the top of our agenda. The Forum for SECURITY Cooperation needs to keep its attention on this devastating war and the suffering it inflicts on the Ukrainian people.
I want to be totally clear: The Russian Federation bears the full responsibility for the miserable state of affairs.
Russia continues its aggression against the Ukrainian people, disregarding international law, including International Humanitarian Law. Through the Russian Federations invasion of its sovereign neighbor the world has once again been reminded of the disproportionate impact war has on children, on women and on the civil society as a whole. I once again reiterate our call on Russia to come to its senses. To respect its international obligations and commitments, and to withdraw all troops from Ukraine.
Despite the devastating situation in Ukraine, we must not lose sight of other ongoing conflicts in the OSCE area, as well as on thematic issues. Following the tradition of former FSC Chairpersonships that gave attention to regional topics, and with the firm belief that the war in Ukraine also should be included in the discussions, we understand and support your focus on areas such as Small Arms and Light Weapons, the Mine action and Regional Mechanisms for building trust and - close to our heart, the Code of Conduct and of course discussions around Women, Peace and Security.
To you and your team, we ensure our support and constructive cooperation throughout your entire chairmanship period. As your coordinator LtCol Knapskog will, with pleasure, do his utmost to support you in all discussions on and around the Vienna Document. An important boost to this work would be the conduction of the Annual Implementation Assessment Meeting on which we hope consensus can be found sooner rather than later.
We would like to use this opportunity to welcome Bulgaria to the FSC troika. We also thank Belgium for a job well done last trimester and compliment them for an interesting program and good leadership. Especially we would like to mention the work Belgium did on drawing all 3 OSCE dimensions closer together with the FSC by arranging security dialogues and side events on cross-dimensional topics.
In a time of conflict and segregation, it is important to remember that the OSCE as a whole, works for the OSCE’s inhabitants as a whole, - to use the slogan of North Macedonia: “it`s about people!”.