29th OSCE Ministerial Council
Delivered by H.E Ambassador Richard Sadleir, Australia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations and International Organisations in Vienna
2 December 2022
Ministers, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen.
It is my honour to be here today representing Australia at this Ministerial Council. I would like to thank Poland for its strong leadership of the OSCE during an incredibly challenging year for Europe and for the world. I would also like to thank Sweden for its deft leadership of the Asian Partners for Cooperation throughout 2022.
There is no doubt that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is the greatest threat to Europe’s security since the Second World War.
But it is more than that.
The world is so interconnected that a threat to Europe - of this scale and with this level of flagrant disregard and disrespect for the established rules and norms of international behaviour - is a threat to us all wherever we are in the world.
Australia unequivocally condemns Russia’s illegal and immoral invasion of Ukraine. We are unwavering in our support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity – core principles that underpin the Helsinki Final Act and the rules-based international order.
These are not just words.
We continue to work closely with our international partners to support Ukraine and hold Russia accountable for its actions.
We have contributed 655 million Australian dollars in defence, economic and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, including 24 million dollars to NATO’s Ukraine Comprehensive Assistance Trust Fund. We have welcomed Ukrainian refugees, supplied 79,000 tonnes of thermal coal to support Ukraine’s energy security and have made in-kind and financial contributions to support nuclear safety and security in Ukraine and to help protect against chemical attacks.
We are proud to stand with Ukraine and will continue to do so as long as needed.
As Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator the Honourable Penny Wong, has said: in our Indo-Pacific region, where geopolitical contest becomes ever sharper, we must ensure that competition does not escalate into conflict.
Conflict in our region would affect the peace and security of Europe, and indeed the globe.
By way of just one example of threats in our region, the nuclear posturing of the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea is a serious and unacceptable menace to the peace and security of the entire international community. The DPRK continues to flagrantly violate multiple UN Security Council resolutions and is apparently ready to conduct a nuclear explosive test at any moment.
This must be of grave concern to us all. We call for solidarity with our fellow Asian Partners, Japan and the Republic of Korea, in response to this threat.
The stability of the Indo-Pacific region has a direct impact on the peace and security of all OSCE participating states.
And that is why Australia values our engagement through the OSCE Asian Partners mechanism. This is an important platform to strengthen relationships between our regions, and to reaffirm our shared commitment to maintaining an open, peaceful, stable and rules-based international order.
Finally, I would like to amplify the comments made by the Foreign Minister of the Netherlands regarding the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17. We welcome the verdict in The Hague on 17 November and will continue to work with the Netherlands and other grieving nations to seek truth, accountability and justice for the victims.
Although it is a difficult time for this institution, I want to emphasise how vitally important your work is. It is at times like this when such forums are critical. We commend you on your work, and wish you every success. The security, the stability and the prosperity of Europe, and of the world, depends upon it.
Thank you very much Chair.