01/10/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 01/10/2019 09:38
VIENNA, 10 January 2019 - The major challenges facing the OSCE region and beyond demand more co-operation and more dialogue than ever before, said Slovakia's Minister for Foreign and European Affairs Miroslav Lajčák, when presenting the priorities of the Slovak Chairmanship to the Permanent Council in Vienna today.
In his opening remarks, Lajčák pointed out that all the tools needed to overcome current security challenges already exist. 'In fact, many lie right here, at the OSCE,' he added.
Elaborating on the Chairmanship's priority of conflict prevention and resolution, Lajčák drew attention to the human suffering caused by protracted conflicts.
Special attention will be given to the situation in and around Ukraine. Reminding the Permanent Council of the need for ongoing support to the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission and announcing his visit to Ukraine next week, the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office said he will focus on opportunities for dialogue. 'If there is any way to immediately alleviate the situation for people on the ground, we must take it,' he said.
Lajčâk also acknowledged positive momentum, when it comes to the Transdniestrian Settlement Process, the recent intensification of dialogue and the decrease in ceasefire violations and casualties in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and the resumption of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism meetings in Ergneti.
Introducing the Chairmanship's second priority - a safer future - Lajčák said that if the OSCE is to make a difference in the lives of people, it cannot focus only on the challenges of today.
'We are still in the dark about the role communications technologies, artificial intelligence or energy innovations will play in our security landscape, years from now. But one thing is certain: we need to start thinking about it - and talking about it - more.'
As custodians of the present and future, he called for young people to have a greater say, adding that they are coming up with new ways to prevent violent extremism, counter climate change and spur sustainable development.
Turning to the Chairmanship's third priority - effective multilateralism - the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office pointed out that today's security challenges cannot be addressed by one country alone.
However, Lajcak stressed that 'at a time when we are in urgent need of cooperation, we are seeing our multilateral systems coming under increasing threat.' He warned that 'the lessons we have learned from history, which tell us that compromise and co-operation are the only way forward, are being ignored.'
Chairperson Lajčák said Slovakia was committed to promoting co-operation between the OSCE and other international organizations such as the UN, with non-governmental organizations and international and regional actors in the field, and with think tanks, women's groups and youth networks. Later, he noted that Slovakia will work to bring to life a vision in which peace, human rights, gender equality, and the rule of law are a reality for all.
Having reminded the representatives of the OSCE's 57 participating States of the need to urgently reach agreement on the organization's budget for 2019, Lajčák concluded with a statement on Slovakia's commitment to the OSCE Chairmanship: 'We are determined to be impartial, fair and honest in our role as partners and mediators,' he said. 'I look forward to close co-operation with the OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger, as well as the OSCE's institutions, executive structures, and field operations.'