UN and OSCE: a shared approach that combines security, development and human rights [fr]
Statement by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council – 7 March 2019
I would like to start by warmly thanking Mr. Miroslav Lajčák for his insightful briefing on the priorities of the Slovak chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). We are delighted to have him here with us today. Slovakia can count on France’s full support in the implementation of its programme of work, in which the issues of the effectiveness of multilateralism and the protection of civilian populations in conflict zones — two themes that are at the heart of the joint presidencies of France and Germany — are given priority. Two points deserve particular attention in the context of the Security Council’s cooperation with the OSCE. I will be brief.
First, with respect to the decisive role of the OSCE in resolving the Ukrainian crisis, the crisis is clearly one of the most serious and deadly violations of the founding principles of the OSCE, which were agreed in Helsinki more than 40 years ago. From the very beginning of the crisis, the OSCE has risen to the challenge. The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine therefore contributes on a daily basis to reducing tensions in the east of the country, on the line of contact and throughout the conflict zone, and has made progress towards the implementation of the Minsk agreements by the parties.
We commend the courage of the women and men who are engaged on the ground in that regard and condemn in the strongest terms all actions that undermine their security or seek to obstruct their mission and destroy their equipment, as observed in recent months, especially in the separatist zone.
The ОSCE also facilitates dialogue between the parties within the framework of the Trilateral Contact Group. It can count on the political support of the Normandy format, as my Germany colleague mentioned. However, we must note that those discussions are now at an impasse. More than ever, they require a re-engagement of all parties, in particular Russia and the separatist groups that it supports. That re-engagement can be demonstrated only by through strong political resolve to support those talks, which is both urgent and essential. The parties must assume their responsibilities and meet the expectations of the civilian populations trapped in the conflict. That more constructive attitude should be observed in both the Trilateral Contact Group and the Normandy format.
We cannot talk about the Ukrainian crisis without going back to the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia five years ago. That violation of Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders is the cause of growing tensions in the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea. In that regard, we reiterate our call for the unconditional release of the Ukrainian sailors who have been detained since the serious naval incident last November, as well as for the return of the seized boats.
Secondly, with regard to the conflict in Ukraine, we call on all actors in the protracted conflicts and all Member States to support the OSCE’s mediation efforts. The OSCE is contributing to the peaceful and political resolution of the protracted conflicts in Nagorno Karabakh, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Transnistria, but in that regard, too, only the political will of the parties can bring negotiations to a successful conclusion, leading to the settlement of those crises. France will continue to be fully involved in the mediation of the conflict in Nagorno Karabakh in its capacity as co-Chair of the Minsk Group, together with the United States and Russia. The commitments undertaken by participating States and the dialogue facilitation activities led by the OSCE demand respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms by all States. The vision of peace and security in Europe, as envisaged at the signing of the Helsinki Final Act, rests on that pillar. France reiterates its commitment to the OSCE as a platform for dialogue with regard to all security issues affecting the European continent and its multidimensional approach to security.
In conclusion, I will recall, on the one hand, the priority that must be given to cooperation between the United Nations and regional agencies in accordance with Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations and, on the other, the large overlap between the work of the OSCE and that of the United Nations. At a time when divisions at the international level were seemingly insurmountable, the Helsinki Final Act, the cornerstone of the OSCE, opened a new chapter in the history of multilateralism. We must now let that example inspire us as a renewed and revitalized form of multilateralism seems to us more necessary than ever to meet today’s great challenges. Let us never forget that the two secret weapons of such multilateralism are respect and dialogue. The two organizations foster a shared approach that combines security, development and human rights. It is our duty to continue to support the work of the OSCE to strengthen security at the regional level, in particular in all crises in which that organization is called upon to act. France’s commitment in that direction is firm.