Over the coming year, the Swedish Chairpersonship will do its part to ensure that the OSCE can make a real difference on the ground and defend the principles on which the Organization was founded, said OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden Ann Linde in her virtual address to the Permanent Council today.
“In a situation where multilateral co-operation and international law are increasingly being challenged, and our agreements and instruments to strengthen security are being questioned, we need to remind ourselves why we designed them in the first place,” said Ann Linde. “Sweden is convinced that multilateral co-operation is the best way to address our common challenges. Sweden has shown that we are ready to shoulder our responsibility for the multilateral system.”
Elaborating on the Chairpersonship’s priorities, she said they will focus on the principles and commitments shared by all 57 participating States, defending the European security order and upholding the OSCE’s concept of comprehensive security. Political and economic security, human rights, democracy, the rule of law and equality are interrelated and interconnected, she added.
“Through the shared commitments on which the OSCE was founded, the link between security and respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law is crystal clear,” said Linde. “Together we have declared all OSCE principles and commitments to be matters of immediate and legitimate concern to all participating States.”
“By holding each other accountable, we make sure that our commitments remain relevant. By honouring our commitments, we make sure that our region is safe. This is where the unique value of our organization lies.”
Conflict resolution efforts in the region is a high priority, Linde said, noting the ongoing conflicts and crises in and around Nagorno-Karabakh, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and Belarus.
“Threats to international peace and security, as well as the suffering caused by conflicts, are simply unacceptable,” Linde said. “We therefore need to keep the resolution of the conflicts in our region at the top of our agenda.”
She said that the Chair will call for respect for international law in all conflicts and will back measures to mitigate the humanitarian consequences and advocate an inclusive approach. The Chair remains ready to engage directly with stakeholders and offers OSCE’s good offices to facilitate solutions, Linde added.
She underscored that the OSCE “is only as effective as we, the participating States, allow it to be” and called on participating States to “engage constructively” on the OSCE Unified Budget. She said the Chair stands “ready to do our part in leading negotiations.”
She stressed that achieving comprehensive security throughout the region requires meaningful inclusion and empowerment of women. Linde emphasized that as Chairperson-in-Office, she would place special emphasis on strengthening gender equality in all aspects of the Organization’s work. She also raised the strong and unique joint commitment within the OSCE to the participation of civil society.