(Belgrade, 4 December 2015)
The Delegation of Ukraine would like to start by expressing gratitude to the Serbian hosts, personally to Minister I.Dacic, for the warm hospitality that we have enjoyed during our stay in Belgrade. We commend the efforts that the Serbian Chairmanship invested in preparing the Belgrade Ministerial, as well as the work of the Chairmanship throughout this challenging year. This work was done with dedication and persistence. We express our appreciation to the Chairmanship team in Vienna, led by Ambasador V.Zugic.
As our meeting in Belgrade is drawing to a close, we wish to emphasize particular importance of the fact that the issue of ensuring compliance with the OSCE principles and commitments was dominating in the discussions. We highly appreciate the firm stance of the OSCE participating States on respect to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders, which includes the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.
Despite significant international efforts invested in resolving the crisis, which stemmed from the Russian aggression against Ukraine, the violations of the fundamental principles, in particularly those enshrined in the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final Act, the aggressive actions of the Russian Federation have not halted and the situation in Ukraine’s Donbas remains dire and fragile. The Russian Federation ignores consistent calls to reverse illegal occupation and annexation of Ukraine’s Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, to stop fueling the conflict in Donbas and withdraw its servicemen, weaponry and fighters from there.
We regret that our attempt to adopt a declaration regarding the crisis around Ukraine was not successful as the Russian Federation fails to recommit to the fundamentals of this Organization – in particular, respect to sovereignty and territorial integrity, inviolability of frontiers, non-use of force.
This was supposed to be a document, which would provide a strong impetus to advance in political resolution of the crisis by peaceful means on the basis of the OSCE principles, that all of us, including the Russian Federation, have committed to abide by. Russia again has not showed readiness to return to the tenets of international law.
We appreciate the OSCE efforts to respond to the crisis, in particular we highly value the activities of the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine and the work of the OSCE autonomous institutions. We very much regret that it proved not possible to table and adopt a Ministerial Statement on support of the SMM’s activities despite Ukraine’s support of such initiative and intensive efforts undertaken in this regard by the Serbian Chairmanship and the incoming Chairman-in-Office.
We reiterate that Ukraine is fully committed to implementation of the Minsk agreements in good faith as a basis for sustainable peaceful resolution. It is important to continue to stimulate the Russian Federation to abide fully by the Minsk agreements as a signatory of these documents to deliver practically on undertaken commitments, thus allowing restoration of peace in Donbas, as well as of Ukraine’s sovereignty over its territory, including the control over the border.
We reiterate an urgent need to address serious violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the occupied Crimea, including by seeking unimpeded access there of the OSCE and other international organizations. Consistent grave violations target mostly the representatives of the Crimean Tatar and Ukrainian communities.
We urge Russia as an occupying authority to allow unfettered access of international organizations to the occupied Crimea.
Combatting terrorism was also in the focus of this Ministerial Council in view of recent horrifying attacks. We strongly support international efforts to combat terrorism, which viciously strikes many countries throughout the OSCE area, including Ukraine.
We have contributed to agreement on Ministerial declarations that address the issue of combating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including the phenomenon of foreign terrorist fighters, and combatting violent extremism and radicalization that leads to terrorism.
It is important to ensure that anti-terrorism efforts are not taken at the expense of the fundamental values and principles.
The OSCE’s persistence towards restoring respect to the OSCE principles and commitments are the only efficient antidote to the recurrence of their flagrant violations in the OSCE space. Any compromise on the principles would further erode confidence in the ability of the OSCE to maintain credible security environment in the area of responsibility. We are confident that this is not in the interests of the OSCE community, including Russia.
We look forward to maintaining the issue of ensuring strict adherence to the OSCE principles and commitments at the top of the OSCE agenda in 2016 under the German Chairmanship.
We wish our German friends every success at the helm of the OSCE and are ready to closely cooperate with the Chairmanship across the OSCE mandate, in particular on issues of restoring respect for the Helsinki principles and numerous OSCE commitments.
The Delegation of Ukraine kindly requests that this statement be attached to the journal of this Council’s meeting.
Thank you, Mr.Chairperson.