OSCE Permanent Council Meeting
31 August 2017
Statement by Ms Alison Drury, Deputy Head of Mission, Australian Delegation
Australia congratulates you on your appointment as the new OSCE Secretary General.
Australia has been an Asian Partner for Cooperation since 2009. In the time since, we have enjoyed good relations with the Secretariat and the successive Chairs-in-Office.
We were pleased to work closely with former Secretary-General Zannier and look forward to working with you.
Of course, Secretary-General Greminger, you are well known to the OSCE delegations in this room through your deft Chairing of the Permanent Council in 2014 as the crisis in Ukraine intensified. We were particularly grateful for your support gaining access to the MH17 site in Ukraine. My delegation also had the pleasure of working closely with you when you chaired the Asian Partners Contact Group in 2015.
Australia appreciates the OSCE’s work in promoting security and stability in Europe, and beyond.
We particularly appreciate the Special Monitoring Mission’s role in Ukraine, where monitors continue to operate under great risk to their personal safety. We urge all parties to make good on their undertakings under the Minsk agreements and bring this conflict to an end. We reiterate that Australia will not recognise the Russian Federation’s purported annexation of Crimea.
Terrorism and violent extremism remains a serious threat to international peace and security, as we saw again in Barcelona. We hope the OSCE will continue its focus on counter-terrorism and countering violent extremism. We firmly believe that terrorism can be defeated through united international cooperation and collaboration, in which the OSCE plays an important part.
We also take this opportunity to welcome the recent appointments to the roles of the Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, the High Commissioner on National Minorities and OSCE Representatives on Fundamental Freedom. We wish the best to Director Gísladóttir, High Commissioner Zannier and Special Representative Désir and have no doubt they will bring energetic approaches to implementing their respective mandates.
Australia also appreciates the work of the OSCE’s field missions. The Australian delegation has had the chance to see the very real contribution made to strengthening the rule of law, governance and human rights by the OSCE field missions to places such as Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo.
Last but not least, I want to reassure you, Secretary-General, of Australia’s continuing commitment to the OSCE Asian Partners process, which remains a useful mechanism for exchanging ideas across our respective regions.
We have been engaging in constructive dialogue with the OSCE and its participating States about the way the Indo-Pacific security dynamic is evolving, and how it can impact the collective security in the OSCE region and globally. We look forward to working with you, Secretary-General, and the OSCE as a partner in promoting peace and security internationally.