OSCE Ministerial Council, 2-3 December 2021
Australian National Statement
Delivered by Alternate Representative Ruth Constantine
Australia would like to commend Sweden as Chair-In-Office of the OSCE for its skilful leadership in a year which had its ongoing difficulties.
The OSCE remains a key platform for dialogue and cooperation against a backdrop of complex transnational and global threats and challenges.
Australia is proud to be a member of the Asian Partners for Cooperation Group. We value the opportunity to work with others in bringing an Indo‑Pacific perspective to the deliberations of the OSCE.
The OSCE forms a critical part of the international rules-based order, an order which is under increasing strain.
Australia is concerned that some states continue to act in ways that are inconsistent with international law and established norms.
Australia supports the OSCE’s election monitoring activities. We were disappointed that the OSCE was not able to monitor the elections to the Russian State Duma in September 2021 due to pandemic related restrictions.
Australia is concerned by Russia’s continued siting of large numbers of military personnel and equipment in its regions bordering Ukraine and in the illegally annexed Crimea. We join OSCE partners in urging Russia to take all steps to reduce tensions in the area and minimise the possibility of any miscalculations that could accidentally lead to conflict.
Australia notes that the aftermath of the August 2020 Presidential election in Belarus continues to pose challenges to the rule of law and the activities of the OSCE itself.
Australia stands with its partners in the OSCE in condemning those in Belarus who have facilitated the movement of desperate migrants across borders to apply political pressure.
Australia has been concerned by the fighting since 12 May 2021 at different points along the international borders of Armenia and Azerbaijan. Australia calls on both parties to undertake the demarcation of their shared borders in good faith and with the willing support of the international community.
Australia encourages all parties to engage with the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs to seek a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. All sides should take action to build trust, such as cooperation on minefield clearance to foster reconciliation between peoples and shared prosperity in the region.
Australia will never cease to seek truth, justice, and accountability for the downing of MH17, in line with UNSC resolution 2166.
Rules, norms and accountability are the only way to achieve justice, peace, security and prosperity.
The multilateral system is critical to preserving a nuanced appreciation of individual states’ interests. By its very nature, it requires us to understand others’ positions and find compromise.
The OSCE provides such a space and enables us to agree to those frameworks. It promotes and protects international rules and norms. OSCE monitoring missions are important in guaranteeing the peace in areas of conflict. Closer OSCE engagement with its partners on shared security challenges will benefit us all.
Australia looks forward to working with the OSCE as an Asian Partner and congratulates Poland on its appointment as chair for 2022.