Thank you Mr. Chair,
In response to the address by the Vice-President of the OSCE Court of Conciliation and Arbitration I would like to make this statement in my national capacity and also on behalf of 18 other European Union Member States and 10 OSCE participating States that are parties to the 1992 Convention on Conciliation and Arbitration: Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, North Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, San Marino, Switzerland and Ukraine.
We welcome Vice-President Kourula of the OSCE Court of Conciliation and Arbitration to the Permanent Council and thank him for his address.
In 2022 the Court marked the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Convention on Conciliation and Arbitration which established the Court through the Stockholm Convention. The anniversary took place during the extremely serious security situation within the OSCE area and beyond, caused by Russia’s illegal war of aggression against Ukraine. Through its war of aggression, Russia –a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council – clearly violatesthe fundamental principles laid down in the Charter of the United Nations aswell as the base of collective and comprehensive security that lie at the heartof our organisation.
We emphasise once again that any diplomatic solution to end Russia’s illegal war of aggression must be based on full respect for the rules, principles and norms of international law, including those enshrined in the UN Charter and the founding documents of the OSCE including the Helsinki Final Act and the Charter of Paris for a New Europe.
We welcome Vice President Kourula’s statement on the Court’s activities, recalling in particular the possibilities offered by the Court to contribute to the settlement of disputes through peaceful and diplomatic means in a sustainable and effective manner, in accordance with international law and OSCE principles and commitments.
Although the Court’s services are yet to be requested, we believe that it could be a useful instrument for preventive diplomacy. Its conciliation and arbitration mechanisms could undoubtedly provide long-term and durable solutions to various challenges.
While we welcome the fact that 34 OSCE participating States have acceded to or ratified the Stockholm Convention, at the same time we reiterate our belief that the signature and ratification by a greater number of States could further facilitate the full utilisation of this instrument. We therefore welcome the efforts made over the past year to increase awareness about the Court.
The 30th anniversary seminar that took place in Stockholm in November was important as it highlighted the role that the court could play, and also gave an impetus for integrating the Court into existing OSCE conflict-prevention mechanisms.
For our part, we will continue to encourage any initiative to raise awareness of the Court’s value among OSCE participating States and to integrate it into OSCE activities. We also welcome the publication of the Court’s annual report in the light of the activities and main developments over the past year.
In closing, we thank you once again for your address and wish you every success in your work.