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Statement by the Delegation of Italy

Held by Ambassador Alessandro Azzoni at the 27th Meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council, Vienna 4. December 2020.

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Mr. Chairperson,


This statement is delivered on behalf of the following participating States: Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montenegro, the Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America as well as my own country, Italy.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges affecting all of our nations and societies, and all areas of life, imposing a huge cost in lives lost, as well as a sudden and severe shock to our economies. The proliferation of disinformation, propaganda and misinformation has brought additional challenges in responding to the pandemic. It is apparent that no country can tackle a challenge of such magnitude on its own without consulting and coordinating with others. Transparent and honest multilateral approaches have once again proven to be more effective, from sharing information and exchanging data to coordinating necessary measures, especially on health-related matters. We have been supporting the response to the pandemic and have cancelled or downscaled military exercises.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges affecting all of our nations and societies, and all areas of life, imposing a huge cost in lives lost, as well as a sudden and severe shock to our economies. The proliferation of disinformation, propaganda and misinformation has brought additional challenges in responding to the pandemic. It is apparent that no country can tackle a challenge of such magnitude on its own without consulting and coordinating with others. Transparent and honest multilateral approaches have once again proven to be more effective, from sharing information and exchanging data to coordinating necessary measures, especially on health-related matters. We have been supporting the response to the pandemic and have cancelled or downscaled military exercises.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges affecting all of our nations and societies, and all areas of life, imposing a huge cost in lives lost, as well as a sudden and severe shock to our economies. The proliferation of disinformation, propaganda and misinformation has brought additional challenges in responding to the pandemic. It is apparent that no country can tackle a challenge of such magnitude on its own without consulting and coordinating with others. Transparent and honest multilateral approaches have once again proven to be more effective, from sharing information and exchanging data to coordinating necessary measures, especially on health-related matters. We have been supporting the response to the pandemic and have cancelled or downscaled military exercises.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges affecting all of our nations and societies, and all areas of life, imposing a huge cost in lives lost, as well as a sudden and severe shock to our economies. The proliferation of disinformation, propaganda and misinformation has brought additional challenges in responding to the pandemic. It is apparent that no country can tackle a challenge of such magnitude on its own without consulting and coordinating with others. Transparent and honest multilateral approaches have once again proven to be more effective, from sharing information and exchanging data to coordinating necessary measures, especially on health-related matters. We have been supporting the response to the pandemic and have cancelled or downscaled military exercises.

We continue to respond to the deteriorating security environment by enhancing our resilience, deterrence and defence posture. We remain open to a meaningful dialogue with Russia on the basis of reciprocity, with a view to avoiding misunderstanding, miscalculation, and unintended escalation, and increasing transparency and predictability. We also remain open to a constructive relationship with Russia when Russia’s actions make that possible.

The Euro-Atlantic security environment has become less stable and predictable as a result of Russia’s illegal and illegitimate attempted annexation of Crimea, which we do not and will not recognize, as well as by Russia’s ongoing acts of aggression in eastern Ukraine. We reiterate our full support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders and territorial waters. We call on Russia to return control of Crimea to Ukraine. We condemn Russia’s ongoing and wide-ranging military build-up on the peninsula, which continues to impact the security situation near the Kerch Strait, Sea of Azov and the Black Sea Region. We call on Russia to comply with its international obligations and refrain from hindering access to Ukrainian Ports in the Sea of Azov or otherwise obstructing navigational rights and freedoms. We are deeply concerned by the human rights abuses being carried out by the Russian de-facto authorities in Crimea against Ukrainian citizens, including Crimean Tatars, and members of other local communities. We call on Russia to immediately release all Ukrainian citizens who remain unjustly detained in Crimea and Russia.

We commend Ukraine for its commitment to a peaceful resolution of the conflict in eastern Ukraine and call on Russia to act likewise.  We reaffirm our support to a settlement by diplomatic means by implementing the Minsk agreements. Russia, as a signatory to the Minsk agreements bears significant responsibility in this regard. The Normandy Summit in Paris on 9 December 2019 represented an important step towards the reengagement of all sides to a peaceful resolution of the conflict. Its conclusions must now be fully implemented. We welcome the fact that following agreement in the Trilateral Contact Group in July on additional measures to strengthen the cease fire which is largely holding, the number of violations remain at an unprecedentedly low level. We reiterate that the recent improvement in security conditions must be used to overcome the stalemate in the negotiations. We call on Russia to join and not to block efforts to improve humanitarian conditions in eastern Ukraine. We urge Russia to cease all political, financial and military support to militant groups and to stop intervening militarily in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and to withdraw troops, equipment, and mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine, and to return to the Joint Centre for Control and Coordination. We reiterate our full support to the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine.  We stress the importance of ensuring its safety and its full and unhindered access throughout the entire territory of Ukraine including Crimea and the Russia-Ukraine border in accordance with its mandate.

Arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation instruments have made and should continue to make an essential contribution to achieving our security objectives and to ensuring strategic stability and our collective security. The effectiveness of Arms Control and CSBMs is reliant on political will. We call on all OSCE participating states to fully adhere to their arms control commitments and obligations. We are determined to preserve, strengthen, and modernize conventional arms control in Europe, based on key principles and commitments, including respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, refraining from the threat or use of force, reciprocity, transparency, and host nation consent.

Russia’s ongoing selective implementation of the Vienna Document and the Treaty on Open Skies, and its long-standing non-implementation of the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe, combined with its aggressive military posture, have undermined our security. We call on Russia to return to full implementation of and compliance with the letter and spirit of all of its international obligations and commitments, which is essential to rebuild military transparency and increase predictability in the Euro-Atlantic region.

Russia’s ongoing selective implementation of the Vienna Document and the Treaty on Open Skies, and its long-standing non-implementation of the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe, combined with its aggressive military posture, have undermined our security. We call on Russia to return to full implementation of and compliance with the letter and spirit of all of its international obligations and commitments, which is essential to rebuild military transparency and increase predictability in the Euro-Atlantic region.

Enhancing military transparency and confidence in the entire OSCE region is, and will remain, a top priority in the Forum for Security Cooperation. We consider that full implementation and modernization of the Vienna Document is the most critical step that OSCE participating States can take in that regard. We appeal to Russia to abide by its commitments, fully and in good faith, and to be open and transparent about its no-notice snap exercises and large-scale exercises. OSCE participating States should continue to address effective risk reduction and incident prevention and how to increase military transparency, including in the informal discussions within the Structured Dialogue in accordance with the Hamburg mandate. The OSCE remains an important and inclusive platform for rebuilding trust and confidence through multilateral military dialogue amongst 57 participating States.

We welcome the broad support for modernizing the Vienna Document and look forward to intensified discussions in the Forum for Security Cooperation leading to consensus on an updated Vienna Document at the 2021 Ministerial. We regret the fact that the Ministerial Draft Declaration on the Implementation and Modernization of the Vienna Document 2011 was not adopted. We, therefore, call on all the participating States to constructively engage without precondition in negotiations on the Joint Vienna Document modernization proposal supported by the majority of participating states as a sound basis for such an ambitious negotiation. We believe that a resumption of active and collaborative negotiations by all participating States on the mutually beneficial and long-overdue modernization of the Vienna Document is essential to demonstrate the necessary political will to address widely shared security concerns about the European security environment and ask Russia to reconsider its position.

The Treaty on Open Skies is an important legally binding instrument and a recognized element of the confidence-building framework in the Euro-Atlantic area, intended to provide a level of transparency and thus contributes to the promotion of confidence, stability and security in Europe.  In this regard, we welcome the decision on the distribution of active quotas that enables flights to continue in 2021. However, only the full and correct implementation of the Treaty’s provisions will guarantee its intended contribution to security, to the benefit of all States Parties to the Treaty. We call on the Russian Federation to return to full compliance with the Treaty.

At the same time we value the Structured Dialogue on the current and future challenges and risks to security in the OSCE area as an opportunity to renew a meaningful exchange of ideas among all of the stakeholders to rebuild trust.  We commend the Spanish Chair of the Informal Working Group and his team for the significant and valuable work done this year in the Structured Dialogue addressing risk reduction and threat perceptions. We actively support the continuation of the Structured Dialogue as a transparent, inclusive process owned and driven by participating States, and without a predetermined outcome. We acknowledge that this is a long-term process, which will take more time. We encourage all participating States to engage constructively in these efforts in Vienna.

We stand firm in our commitment to the fight against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and are taking stronger action together to prevent and counter it.

We regret the fact that the Ministerial Draft Decision on the normative aspects of Small Arms and Light Weapons and Stockpiles of Conventional Ammunition (SALW/SCA) was not adopted. 

This year we mark the 20th anniversary of the UNSCR 1325. In this regard, we reiterate our strong commitment to its full implementation. We regret the fact that the Ministerial Draft Decision on the implementation of the UNSCR 1325 in the areas of work of the Forum for Security Cooperation was not adopted.

Mr. Chairperson,

In conclusion, participating States need, without further delay, to rebuild the cooperative security environment, return to real dialogue and strengthen the international rules-based order.

The participating States subscribing to this statement request its inclusion in the Journal of this ministerial meeting.

 

Thank you.