Protracted conflicts, human trafficking and media freedom amongst Ukraine’s OSCE 2013 priorities

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara today announced his country’s priorities for the 2013 OSCE Chairmanship, with the progress on resolution of protracted conflicts, combating trafficking in human beings and promotion of the media freedom amongst key issues.

Addressing the OSCE Permanent Council, he said that Ukraine’s priorities for 2013 include assisting parties in protracted conflicts to find political solutions, with a focus on re-energizing existing formats for negotiation. They include negotiations on the Transdniestrian settlement, the Geneva Discussions on the August 2008 conflict in Georgia and talks on Nagorno-Karabakh led by the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs.

“We are convinced that the so-called protracted conflicts continue to represent a serious threat to our regional stability. Helping the parties to find a political solution should remain the highest priority for the OSCE, the Chairmanship and for all participating States,” Minister Kozhara said.

Stressing the Ukrainian Chairmanship determination to contribute to the Transdniestrian settlement process, Minister Kozhara announced his first visit as a Chairperson-in-Office to Moldova next week.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister underlined the importance of continuing efforts aimed at strengthening arms control mechanisms and confidence- and security building measures.

Ukraine will actively engage to counter transnational threats such as terrorism, organized crime, and trafficking in human beings, weapons and drugs. In economic area the Chairmanship will focus on environmental aspects of energy-related activities.

Promoting implementation of existing commitments in the human dimension, media freedom and youth human rights education are top priorities for the Chairmanship, OSCE Chairperson said.

He also called participating States for examining the security implications of the planned withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan in 2014 and potential OSCE responses, and said the Chairmanship would look into holding an event on the topic.

Minister Kozhara pledged his country’s commitment to the OSCE and its concept of comprehensive and indivisible security, rooted in agreed principles and commitments.  The OSCE “stands out amongst international organizations” and remains an “indispensable platform for inclusive dialogue”. Ukraine’s overarching goal would be to strengthen that role, the Chairperson-in-Office stressed.

He also welcomed the adoption of the Dublin Ministerial Council decision on the Helsinki +40 process as it registered  the determination of all the Participating States to launch a result-oriented dialogue on many key issues leading up to the 40th Helsinki Final Act anniversary of 2015. In this context Minister Kozhara announced the Ukrainian Chairmanship decision to establish an open-ended Helsinki+40 Working Group to drive this process forward.

Leonid Kozhara also announced the Ukrainian Chairmanship initiative to host an international event aimed at engaging youth representatives from all OSCE participating States and Partners for Co-operation.

The Permanent Council is one of the OSCE’s main regular decision-making bodies. It convenes weekly in Vienna to discuss developments in the OSCE area and to make decisions.

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