With renewed commitment, we can strengthen our common security, say participants of 2021 OSCE Annual Security Review Conference

In the face of growing tension, distrust, and transnational threats, we need a renewed and intensified commitment to dialogue and co-operation to strengthen our common security, said participants of 2021 OSCE Annual Security Review Conference. The conference opened today in Vienna under the motto, “Back to basics: our commitments, our security, our OSCE”.

The two-day Conference, hosted by Sweden’s 2021 OSCE Chairpersonship, has brought together high-level representatives of OSCE participating States and Partners for Co-operation as well as partnering organizations. They will have wide-ranging discussions on current security threats and challenges in the region and the OSCE’s role in addressing them. These discussions are taking place against the backdrop of ongoing ceasefire violations in eastern Ukraine and the resumption of armed hostilities in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict context last autumn.

During the opening session, OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs Ann Linde expressed concerns over the deficit of trust and confidence between participating States and the impact of conflicts, crises, and transnational threats in the region, including in neighbouring countries such as Afghanistan. She reaffirmed the OSCE’s support to address these challenges and alleviate their impact on people, especially women and girls, and underscored that re-building trust is critical to stability and security.

”Today I want to talk about how we can work jointly to build trust. The single most effective measure would be for all participating States to fully adhere to existing commitments and principles – to abide by the Helsinki Final Act, the Paris Charter and the Astana Commemorative Declaration. These documents constitute the basis of our European Security Order”, Linde said. “But the OSCE also has a truly unique set of instruments in the context of regional security organizations, namely our toolbox of Confidence and Security Building Measures.”

OSCE Secretary General Helga Maria Schmid explained how participating States can use the platform and tools offered by the OSCE to intensify dialogue, reduce military risks, and re-build confidence. These include the OSCE toolbox for conflict prevention and early warning and the Structured Dialogue around arms control, as well as opportunities to co-operate with OSCE field missions, Institutions, and the Secretariat.

It is up to participating States “to muster the political will to use” what the OSCE provides, Schmid said. “We will all benefit if you do. I urge all participating States to reinvest energy and resources in the OSCE’s inclusive platform for dialogue, and to intensify efforts to increase mutual understanding and co-operation.”