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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at the 23rd session of the OSCE Ministerial Council, Hamburg, December 8, 2016

8 December 201615:29
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at the 23rd session of the OSCE Ministerial Council, Hamburg, December 8, 2016
2285-08-12-2016
Mr Chairperson-in-Office,
Mr Secretary General,
Ms President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Colleagues,
The situation in and around Europe remains unstable. The foundations of military-political security continue to be eroded and acts of terror are on the upsurge. Diplomacy and mutually beneficial economic ties are being replaced with ultimatums, double standards and attempts to exert unilateral pressure and practice coercion. I don’t think this is the Europe we’d like to see.
We have been talking about this state of affairs for several years now. The euphoria that the West experienced after the end of the Cold War did not allow the sides to develop a common approach to equal and indivisible security in the Euro-Atlantic Region.

Instead of removing the division lines, a choice was made in favour of a closed NATO-centric system. As a result, the European space broke into separate zones with different levels of security guarantees. Tough security based on confidence-building and arms control measures found itself in deep crisis.
For all that, the situation is not desperate. To begin with, we suggest ending the bellicose rhetoric that has continued up to this date. If you want to invite a partner for dialogue, you should not start with hurling accusations at him and demanding that this dialogue be based exclusively on your ultimatums. Such attempts undermine the very foundations of the OSCE, which its Chairperson-in-Office, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, called our common, unique organisation. We want to make it clear once and for all that the required political atmosphere for conducting an unbiased comparative analysis of war potentials in Europe can only be created via an exclusively equitable dialogue. Together we must take a map of Europe and see who has deployed what and where. We are confident that the results of such analysis will convincingly dispel the myth about “the Russian threat” and will graphically show where the risks are coming from.
An honest conversation is also necessary on the reasons behind the migration crisis in Europe, which was triggered by crude interference into the domestic affairs of countries in the Middle East and North Africa. This crisis led to chaos, rampant terrorism, loss of life and suffering. These were all the results of intervention. This lesson should be remembered well in the work of the OSCE on migration. It is not enough merely to discuss collective measures on alleviating the aftermath of illegal unilateral interventions.
We consider it urgent to start ridding economic cooperation from ideology and coordinating trust-building measures. We support the discussion of topics of economic connectivity  in the OSCE.  
It is also important to promote a positive agenda as regards cyberspace and ensure the efficient operation of the OSCE working group on IT confidence measures. We stand for balancing out OSCE activities in three dimensions, enhancing security and making a bigger contribution to the struggle against terrorism and drug trafficking. 
We support the activities of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine in line with its mandate as a major stabilising factor in the common efforts to settle the domestic conflict in that country. The settlement is only possible on the basis of the Minsk Package of Measures and UN Security Council Resolution 2202. It is necessary to stop subverting these decisions that state in no uncertain terms that there is no alternative to direct talks between the sides – Kiev and Donbass – under the auspices of the Contact Group and with the support of the Normandy format.
Commitment to achieved agreements is a key to settling all other complicated issues, including those in Transnistria and Nagorno-Karabakh. All conflicts must be resolved in line with the agreed-on formats, full-fledged participation of all sides involved, and on the basis of the balance of their interests.
We consider the OSCE to be a major platform for discussing ways of cooperating on key European issues. Our common, long-term goal should be to build a community of equal and indivisible security and, naturally, we should start with restoring the lost trust. We can only do this if we have the required political will and mutual respect and consolidate the OSCE interstate foundation.
The long-overdue reform of our organisation cannot be further delayed. Needless to say, it is necessary to stop any attempts to depart from the principle of consensus, which could bury the OSCE.
We would like to thank our German colleagues for their hospitality in Hamburg. We appreciate the efforts to maintain the high profile of the OSCE and wish success to the Austrian Chairmanship.
The full text of our remarks will be published on the Russian Foreign Ministry website. 



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