03/19/2018 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 03/19/2018 10:42
Thank you very much, Mr. President, and thank you, Minister Alfano, for your briefing on OSCE activities and your leadership of the OSCE. The United States greatly appreciates the OSCE's efforts in promoting security, stability, and good governance in the region and globally. We offer our full support to the OSCE and to Italy in its Chairmanship.
Mr. President, the OSCE has been critical to developing a robust European and Eurasian security architecture. The United States greatly appreciates the OSCE's contributions over more than 40 years, which have underpinned stability, security, and prosperity throughout the region. As an OSCE participating state, the United States supports our partners and reaffirms our own commitment to this crucial effort.
To strengthen OSCE's utility and preserve OSCE's function as a primary forum for an open dialogue on core European security concerns, we strongly support the continuation of OSCE's Structured Dialogue on current and future challenges and risks. This initiative has opened up productive and frank deliberations among participating States to foster mutual understanding and cooperation to address the leading challenges of our day.
One of the greatest security and humanitarian challenges the OSCE faces is the continuing crisis in eastern Ukraine, where Russian acts of aggression have claimed over 10,000 lives. Russia and the forces it arms, trains, leads, and fights alongside have perpetuated this conflict for too long.
The United States commends the OSCE's efforts to find a resolution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine. We especially recognize the essential role of the OSCE's Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine. The Mission remains the international community's best source of impartial information regarding the significant toll the conflict in eastern Ukraine has taken on Ukraine's people, land, and infrastructure. That Russia, a member of the OSCE, continues to drive this conflict is a terrible irony.
The OSCE's role in facilitating humanitarian work has been critical to alleviating the suffering caused by four years of aggression. We applaud the courage and dedication of the Monitoring Mission's unarmed monitors and strongly support efforts to ensure their safety in carrying out this critical mission.
The United States continues to support the Minsk agreements and their full implementation as the best path to restoring Ukraine's territorial integrity and alleviating the suffering in the Donbas. While both sides must implement their Minsk commitments, Russia can singlehandedly bring peace and end this conflict by withdrawing its forces.
Looking to Crimea, here we also call for an end to Russia's occupation, which has also contributed to needless violence, displacement, and death for too long.
Beyond Ukraine, the United States welcomes and supports the OSCE's continued efforts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the conflicts in Georgia, and the Transnistrian conflict. The OSCE must remained focused on these protracted conflicts to underscore that frozen or status quo conflicts are completely counter to peace, stability, and security priorities of the OSCE and the international community.
Mr. President, the OSCE's crucial role in strengthening the security and stability, addressing humanitarian needs in conflict-afflicted populations, and promoting good governance in the region cannot be overstated. The United States fully supports the OSCE's comprehensive approach to addressing critical security challenges. We also unequivocally affirm the OSCE's importance as a partner to the UN and particularly to the Security Council in protecting and promoting peace and prosperity.
I thank you very much.