OSCE Ministerial Council
7-8 December 2017
Australian National Statement
HE Dr Brendon Hammer, Ambassador of Australia
First let me acknowledge Austria’s strong efforts as chair of the OSCE in 2017, and to particularly acknowledge Germany’s excellent work as chair of the Asian Partners Contact Group this year.
Australia places a high value on the work of the OSCE, its institutions and field missions.
In particular, the OSCE is built on the idea that collective security is enhanced when countries come together to discuss issues of mutual concern. Australia also values this principle.
We highlighted this in the major Foreign Policy White Paper we released on 23 November this year.
The White Paper I refer to comprehensively addresses how Australia will advance its national interests in the international sphere in the coming years.
These national interests are based on our national values, which encompass:
- Political, religious and economic freedom – open economy
- Liberal democracy
- Rule of law
- Racial and gender equality; and
- Mutual respect
In this connection we are determined to promote and protect the international rules and norms that support stability and prosperity and enable international cooperation to tackle global challenges.
Put simply, we support a rules-based international order, and we reject an international order where might is considered right, and where those with power feel free to contravene international laws and established norms as they see fit.
In other words, we reject the law of the jungle – which we believe is far from the interests of the vast majority of the world’s countries.
Refusal to act in ways consistent with international law and established norms of good behaviour – such as Russia’s coercive and aggressive actions towards Ukraine – weaken global security.
We urge Russia to abide by its commitments under the Minsk 2 agreements and respect the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
We do not recognise Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea.
I would like to register Australia’s sincere appreciation for the work of the OSCE in Ukraine, and, in particular, the staff of the Special Monitoring Mission.
They are the world’s eyes and ears on the conflict. Every day they help reduce tensions and facilitate dialogue between all the sides.
We were particularly concerned and saddened by the death of monitor Joseph Stone.
In closing I would like to register that Australia – as an Asian Partner to the OSCE – will keep up its efforts in the OSCE context.
We look forward once again, in 2018 – through the Asian Partners process, and with our fellow Asian Partners – to bringing to the OSCE our perspectives on security in the Indo-Pacific region.
In particular we are looking forward to co-hosting with Austria the Asian Partners Conference in 2018.